* four civilians shot, three cops injured
* vehicles damaged, 17 detained
By Michael Jordan
At least four civilians, including a US-based Guyanese were shot last night and three police ranks injured after a mob of over 100 clashed with ranks at Windsor Forest, West Coast Demerara.
Divisional Commander Balram Persaud told Kaieteur News today that at least three vehicles were damaged and that some 17 people were taken into custody.
The US-based man, said to be about 50, was reportedly struck by shotgun pellets in the neck, shoulder and abdomen. He has been admitted for surgery at the Balwant Singh Hospital.
Another man, who identified himself as Ramnarine Jagrup, 29, sustained pellet injuries in the left upper thigh and in the nose. Kaieteur News understands that a third man, who is a mechanic, was also shot, but did not seek medical treatment.
Residents claimed that the police fired indiscriminately into a crowd, which included children, after ordering them to disperse, following a dispute over the playing of music at the sea walls. Jagrup, who visited Kaieteur News today after seeking treatment at the West Bank Demerara Regional Hospital, identified by name a senior police officer who he claimed shot him. A relative alleged that Jagrup and others who were injured were merely revelers, and had not attacked the ranks.
But Commander Persaud said that he and his ranks from the Leonora Police Station were forced to open fire on the civilians, after the mob attacked them with bottles and stones, and had tried to relieve two of his men of their firearms.
“”I discharged one round…the lives of my ranks were in danger…I had no alternative,” Persaud said.
The clash occurred just after 19:00 hrs on the public road near the Windsor Forest ‘big bridge’, after police ordered several Easter Monday revelers to shut down their music sets.
According to the Commander, most of the Easter revelers, including those at the Joe Vieira Park, “were cooperative.”
However, he said that the civilians who were playing music sets at the Windsor Forest sea walls ignored the order. According to Persaud, they had not received a permit to play music.
“I am the only on who can issue a permit,” the Commander said.
He said that after receiving complaints of noise nuisance from some residents, the ranks returned to the area. The Commander said that it was at that point some of the revelers became unruly and the ranks took persons into custody.
Persaud alleged that the mob began to burn tyres in the street and throw bottles and other missiles at the forcing him and his men to open fire.
“When I came again, I had no alternative but to open fire. A few (of my men) were injured but we managed to get it under control.”
A relative of the injured US-based man told Kaieteur News that he and others were at the Windsor Forest seawalls when the police ranks arrived and ordered them to stop the music.
He said that the ranks returned some time later and demanded that the revelers show them their permit to play music. He said that the permit was shown to the ranks, who tore up the document and took some of the revelers into custody after they became unruly.
According to the relative, after the persons were detained, several residents left the seawall and converged on the public road near the ‘big bridge.’
He said that police ranks returned and ordered the crowd to disperse. He said that the ranks also warned that they would open fire if the order was not obeyed.
The relative said that the ranks left, but then returned, and there was a confrontation between them and the police, during with the US-based citizen and others were shot.
The man said that it was he who took his relative to the Balwant Singh Hospital.
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