A policeman as well as a protestor have been injured during violent protests at Belladrum, and its neighbouring villages, West Coast Berbice and on the Upper East Coast Demerara.
Over the past few days, APNU/AFC supporters have been protesting – by burning tyres and obstructing the flow of traffic – as they demanded the release of embattled Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo, who was this morning slapped with four charges in relation to electoral fraud at the March 2 elections.
In a statement on Monday, the Guyana Police Force (GPF) revealed that while peaceful protests are the constitutional rights of citizens, it must take action when such exercises “degenerate into a series of unlawful activities”.
The GPF explained that over the recent days, its members have been making diligent efforts in the maintenance of public safety and the movement of traffic which has been impeded for several hours throughout those communities.
The Police Force said it is important to note that the police have shown considerable restraint and have been constantly calling on the protesters to desist from the unlawful acts, but to no avail.
Subsequently, there was an escalation and the Riot Unit was deployed. During these activities a male protester was shot and injured with rubber bullets and a policeman received injuries to his eyes from obstacles thrown by residents at the law enforcement officers.
The injured persons have since received medical attention.
Notwithstanding, the GPF said it will remain persistent in the maintenance of Law and Order and Public Safety and Security in keeping with its role and responsibilities as set out in Chapter 16:01 of the Laws of Guyana.
The protest intensified on Sunday when APNU/AFC supporters lifted an old building which was once used as a shop and placed in in the middle of the road, thus obstructing the flow of traffic.
Also placed on the roadway was the shell of an old car, discarded refrigerators, chairs, tables and logs.