A man, his brother and his wife, were on Tuesday last assisted in recovering a stolen passport and key documents from protesters.
He was assisted by a second group of men who attempted to rob them. Fortunately, luck was with them.
The incident happened during intense protests at Hopetown, West Berbice, Region Five.
The three victims had left their home in Skeldon, Region Six, at around 04:00hrs that morning, in their car, to head for Georgetown in relation to an embassy appointment.
However, along the way, they fell prey to violent attacks from protesters, among whom were criminals, which have greatly marred the actions.
The protestors had initially been demanding justice for the heinous killing of teenaged cousins, Joel and Isaiah Henry, at Cotton Tree Backdam, West Coast Berbice (WCB).
The family said that they were aware of the ongoing protests but had trusted the announcements by police that the road was cleared for traffic.
They claimed that they were able to drive all the way to Cotton Tree without being stopped or delayed by any roadblocks. The trio said that there was a group of protesters at Cotton Tree but police had things under control and they were able to pass safely.
Nevertheless, this was about to change drastically as they arrived at Forth Wellington.
The man’s wife described that as they entered the village at around 12:13hrs, they were greeted by total chaos.
Protesters there, she said, had attacked a truck with cargo paddy and set it on fire.
The woman told this newspaper that officers who were trying to take control of the unrest, were assisting commuters and they were able to enter Hopetown.
At Hopetown, however, said the woman, the situation was even more chaotic and ranks directed their vehicle along with others to take a back street route to evade possible attacks.
The family said while navigating their way through that back street, they noticed a man on a bicycle circling their vehicle. As the other cars went ahead, the man on the bicycle signaled about 15 others who within minutes stormed onto the street and encircled their car.
The woman recalled that one of them threw his bicycle behind the car to prevent them from reversing.
Trapped, she said, the angry group began banging on the car with their hands and sticks.
“They started shouting at us and making racial comments, they told us that we Indians were responsible for the death of the two boys and threatened to take revenge by killing us,” said the woman.
The woman’s husband, who was driving, detailed that they tried pleading with the group, which included women as well to let them pass.
These pleas went unanswered, the man said. Instead, the mob demanded that they exit the car. At first they resisted, said the man, but the protesters threatened to douse the car with gas and burn them and the car together.
By this time, he recalled that his wife was crying and his brother were all traumatized. Left with no other options, the man along with his wife and brother exited the car.
The group then proceeded to relieve their victims of a backpack containing the woman’s clothing. They also stole US$500 and $200,000 in local cash, a cell phone, along with a passport and other key documents.
A tool kit with tools and a pair of sneakers were removed from the car trunk as well.
In the process, the family was dealt several blows to the body and abdomen before they were allowed to go.
The man said as he exited the ‘back street’ and were about to continue their journey on the Hopetown Public Road, they were stopped again by another group of protesters who were in a truck branded with a Guyana Power and Light(GPL) logo.
These guys, the man said, attempted to rob them also.
“I stepped out of the car and told them man that we were just robbed of everything: our documents, passports, money please let us go,” said the man.
“To his surprise, one of the protesters inquired of the location where they were robbed.
I told him that the robbery was committed by a group of individuals in a back street.”
The family said that the protester told them that he had organized the protest and could assist them in getting back their passport and documents only.
They agreed and according to them, the protester along with another hopped into their car and directed back to the street where they had been robbed.
The protesters stepped out, recovered the documents and passport before re-entering the car to accompany the family out of the street again.
The victims continued that the second group of protesters even escorted them to a nearby fire station with their GPL truck and instructed them to wait on an army truck, which will further escort them safely to Georgetown.
The woman recounted that the army truck did come but protest action intensified and instead of heading to Georgetown, they were escorted back to the Weldaad Police Station and told to remain until the unrest was under control.
There the victims reported the robbery to police ranks who took their statements.
After hours of waiting at the station, they were escorted by soldiers to Non Pariel, East Coast Demerara (ECD) and further escorted by a relative from Non Pariel to Georgetown at around 01:00hrs the following day.
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