A group of London-based Guyanese upped the ante on Tuesday by taking its protest in front of the London Guyana High Commission and Russian Embassy.
The protest is the continuing global appeal for solidarity and support to stop what the group calls the degeneracy in Guyana.
This protest was organised by Norman Browne, the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union’s (GB&GWU) UK representative, and Dr. Michelle Yaa, human rights activist.
The organisers said that October 5, was selected to coincide with the date the PPP boasts as the ‘return of democracy,’ to expose the fact that over the last 18 years Guyanese at home have been suffering under deteriorating conditions that no democratic society will condone.
The group insists that “The evidence of increased crime, extrajudicial killings, violations of workers’ right, torture, exclusion of groups from national decision making, racial division, compromised electoral system and the erosion of the rule of law confirm that Guyana is not a democratic society”.
Calling on all Guyanese and citizens around the world to raise their voices in protest against the degeneracy in the society, the protest was joined by representatives from the Working People’s Alliance and others from various organisations, among them, Luwezi Kinshasa, Secretary General of the African Socialist International (ASI); Tongogara Danni from the Pan African Voice London; Kwabena Gyakye from Uhuru Newspaper and the UK’s branch of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP); and Frank Murray, Chair of the Black and Ethnic Advisory Committee of RMT (UK national transport union).
Representation from these organisations lent support to the group’s commitment to stand in solidarity with the GB&GWU in their struggle to find justice for the 57 workers they claim were wrongfully dismissed by the Russian-owned Bauxite Company of Guyana Inc. (BCGI) and to have the company respect the Collective Labour Agreement.
For this reason the demonstration was extended to the Russian Embassy where the group called for the immediate reinstatement of the 57 workers, for BCGI to meet with the union and respect the rights of the workers.
The group said though its numbers were manageable, the impact was effective because embassy officials set off their panic alarm, used to alert police to security threats.
Armed police showed up and soon realised that the demonstration was peaceful in which there was no incursion on the group’s part nor were they terrorists as the police were led to believe by the Russian officials whom they duly reprimanded for their inappropriate use of the panic alarm.
The group opined that since November 1992, the bauxite workers, their communities and members of the GB&GWU have been the recipient of a systematic policy to discriminate against them, which tramples on their constitutional rights.
It was further noted that in January, the GB&GWU submitted a complaint to the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) seeking redress by the way of a public inquiry into discrimination against bauxite workers and their communities on the grounds of race and political geography. The group said that its purpose was to make the international community aware of what is going on in Guyana under the PPP government since for too long Guyanese have been living under the spectre of violence, racism, exploitation and abuse of their resources.
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