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Civil Society Group, WMD condemns the arrest of Gambian protesters

Civil Society Group, WMD condemns the arrest of Gambian protesters

World Movement for Democracy, WMD, a global network of civil society of activists, journalists, scholars, parliamentarians, and thought leaders, condemned the police arrest of 5 protesters on Sunday, including a prominent youth leader, Marr Nyang, in Gambia.

According to WMD,

The Gambian Police arrested and detained Nyang and 11 other civil society leaders for attempting to hold a sit-down demonstration against the corruption and inept management at the Gambia Ferry Service.

The individuals arrested at Barra, including Abdoulie Njie, Omar Joof, Lamin Singhateh, and Kola Bahoum, were taken into custody by the police swiftly and forcefully. Meanwhile, other youths who were also on a sit-down strike at the Never Again Memorial at Banjul were also arrested by the police and detained at the Banjul Police Station, further escalating the tension.

Before the arrest, Gambia Participates, a united front of civil society organisations, whose Nyang sits as its board secretary, and the National Youth Parliament jointly submitted a written request to the Gambia Police Force to hold a peaceful procession from Independence Drive, Banjul, towards the Gambia Ports Authority, where the Gambia Ferry Service office is housed.

The Gambian Police, however, did not respond to their application for a permit to protest against the corruption at the Gambia Ferry Services.

Nyang and others, without a permit from the Gambian Police, decided to hold a peaceful sit-down protest at the Arch Pavilion in Banjul. This public place is open to the public without requiring a police permit.

Despite complying with the police directive to vacate the premises, the Gambian Police still arrested the protesters, demanding that Nyang and others report daily to the Police Headquarters in Banjul.

The WMD has since urged the Gambian authorities to respect people’s right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly while calling for immediate lift of all charges against Nyang and other heads of civil society groups arrested on April 21, 2024.

Read: Russia, China abstains from continuous UN Security Council missions in South Sudan

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