Latest update March 23rd, 2023 12:59 AM
Oct 23, 2012 News
…Police continued to fire at protestors running to safety
Member of Parliament Desmond Trotman said, yesterday, that he is unapologetic for remarks made in support of protestors blocking the Mackenzie / Wismar Bridge in light of promises made by the government for economic relief in the community.
Trotman was replying to Chairman of the Commission, Justice Lensley Wolfe, who had asked whether persons had the right to break the law given the problems facing Lindeners.
He said that he did not consider blocking the bridge as breaking the law when Wolfe said it was “Indeed a disappointment to hear a member of the legislature making such statements.” Trotman replied, “Members of the legislature must understand and emphasize the problems the people are facing, and I say and do so unapologetically.”
Trotman said that the promises made by the government to the people of Linden before the 2011 elections, promising them economic relief, led to the protestors’ actions. Trotman said that instead of relief, the electricity tariff was imposed.
He also said that the blocking of the bridge was done to enforce maximum impact of the people’s plight.
Trotman said that when he arrived in Linden on July 18 he joined a procession heading towards the bridge area. He said that some persons crossed the bridge and some did not. Trotman said he heard Commander Hicken of E and F Division telling his ranks to load their firearms.
The man said that while at the bridge he saw a police jeep speeding in the direction of the protestors posted on the bridge. He however said that none of the protestors moved and the jeep swerved away from the people.
Trotman said that he went to Hicken and asked him what he hoped to achieve by his intimidatory actions towards the people, and the Commander, “smiled.”
Before this, Trotman described the mood on the Mackenzie/Wismar Bridge as festive. He said children were playing games, poems were being recited and drums were beating.
Trotman said that the police after the morning, went away and returned about 17:30hours with reinforcement. The parliamentarian said he was not on the bridge but was on the northern side of the approach to the bridge leading to the GRA building. He said that there was a footpath at the location and he could have seen the police approaching the bridge area.
He said that the police hoisted a banner but he could not see what was written. He said the police started to advance toward the crowd firing tear smoke and what he believed to be gunshots. He said it was pandemonium when the tear gas broke out. The police continued to fire at the crowd even as they exited the bridge area, he explained.
Trotman when asked, said that he saw no protestor throwing missiles at the police. Neither did he see any other person with guns other than the police.
When asked by Commissioner Knights, Trotman said he did not see people using logs from vehicles to block the bridge.
When questioned by police Attorney Peter Hugh, Trotman said the situation did not necessitate the police actions. Trotman rejected Attorney Hugh’s suggestion that Hicken was not on the bridge at the times he claimed. He also refuted the lawyer’s suggestion that he, Trotman, never spoke to Hicken in the area of the bridge.
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