Sep 01, 2020 News Comments Off on Protesters block traffic in several W.C.B. villages
Intense and violent protest actions by residents from several villages along the West Coast of Berbice (WCB) in Region Five succeeded in blocking the free flow of traffic in multiple Berbice villages for nearly 48hrs.
Protest, according to reports, erupted early Sunday after residents from Belladrum blocked main access roads and burnt tyres, as they vented their frustrations over the detention of controversial Returning Officer (RO), Clairmont Mingo.
Mingo was arrested last week along with three other employees of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on election fraud charges.
The protesters clamoured, chanted and demanded the release of Mingo from police custody. Several other neighbouring villages followed suit. These villages included: Calcutta and Content, Mahaicony; Abary, El Dorado and Paradise.
Like the residents of Belladrum, they too blocked the main access roads with huge boulders, burning tyres and other debris, leaving hundreds of commuters stranded. No vehicle was allowed to enter Berbice and persons travelling to Georgetown could not pass either.
It was chaos and confusion everywhere, even funeral processions were prevented from passing. A group of mourners who had just left a Georgetown funeral parlour to bury their loved one at Belladrum were stuck at El Dorado. Protesters allowed only the hearse to pass, however, the mourners were forced to park their cars on the bridges of residents and walk through the protesters all the way to Belladrum. By the time they arrived at the service, the pastor had already performed the last rites and left the dead unburied at the burial ground. After hours of walking in heels, one woman said, they proceeded to seal the tomb and began the long walk out of the burial ground.
Not only were they forced to return to El Dorado on foot but they had to endure long hours at each roadblock, as tensions escalated between police ranks and protesters which extended into the late hours of the night (Sunday).
Protesters even threw rocks and pebbles at riot officers. This resulted in one of the ranks sustaining injuries to the face and eyes.
Police retaliated by shooting rubber bullets at the angry crowd injuring one of the protesters in the process.
Both were rushed to the nearest hospital where they were treated and sent away.
Nevertheless, this did not scare the protesters as they continued their blockade way into yesterday. Many businesses, public servants and other workers were greatly affected.
Persons living in Berbice were left without their daily newspapers after vehicles from the various print media agencies were stranded for hours.
The protest did not end until after mid-day yesterday when Mingo was released on $600,000 bail. Protesters from Abary waited until Mingo arrived and hoisted him on their shoulders as they left the streets.
Police were then left with the job of cleaning the debris before traffic back was restored to normalcy. (Shervin Belgrave)
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