137 people were arrested by Gambian police whereas; more than two dozen people were injured as protests took a violent turn. Protestors were calling for President Adama Barrow to honor a pledge to bow out after serving for three years in office, the government said.
Reneged on his Promise
After a 2016 election, Barrow came to power, putting a stop on 22 years of authoritarian rule by Yahya Jammeh. However, he has reneged on his promise which he made during the campaign to resign by this month, stating that the constitution needs him to serve out a full five-year term.
In response to Barrow’s move, protestors started a movement called “Three Years Jotna”, which in the local Wolof language means “enough”. They began protesting last month to ask for the president’s departure.
On Sunday, police interceded when protesters diverged from the route that was planned. They started moving to the outskirts of the Banjul capital in order to march toward the city center, according to the government.
According to a statement that came late on Sunday, Ebrima Sankareh, the government spokesman said the protesters had aggressed a police barricade and recited that they planned to unsaddle Barrow.
“The protesters became riotous and violent by obstructing roads and burning tires and logs on the highway as well as setting up fires in nearby bushes and on government wetland,” Sankareh said.
Eighteen police officers along with seven civilians were injured, Sankareh said, adding to it he said among the 137 arrested some of the people are executive members of Three Years Jotna.
Government is planning a ban on the movement
The government also decided to prohibit Three Years Jotna, Sankareh said, calling it “a subversive, violent and illegal movement”, and suspended two radio stations it blamed for instigating violence at the time of demonstrations. Reporters were unable to reach to opposition leaders for any comment on the situation.
After getting a lot of applause at the starting point of his tenure for perpetrating to respect rights and set up a truth commission to investigate abuses under Jammeh, Barrow is going through multiple challenges.
Earlier this month, hundreds of supporters of Jammeh demonstrated to ask the former president to be permitted to get back to the Gambia from exile in Equatorial Guinea. Jammeh fled there in January 2017 in a response to military pressure from West African countries to pay regard to his election loss to Barrow.
The government has stated if he returns to the Gambia, Jammeh will be arrested due to accusations of killings, torture, and other abuses supposedly committed by his security forces. Jammeh refuses about those allegations. Barrow is also facing a weak economy, limped by massive debts acquired by Jammeh’s government.
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