Human Rights Association condemns Mon Repos attack, slams Joint Services for ‘unruly’ response – Demerara Waves Online News – Guyana

Updated on Sunday July 3, 2022 at 7:21 by Denis Chabrol

The Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA).

The Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) on Saturday slammed protesters who assaulted Mon Repos market vendors and robbed, damaged and destroyed their properties last week, but criticized police and soldiers for having took a laid back approach and allowed the walk to go on for several miles.

“The Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) unreservedly condemns the criminal behavior of those who took advantage of the east coast Demerara protests to rob, assault and terrorize vendors, bus drivers and other passers-by. They must face dignified justice,” the organization said in a statement.

Residents of the village of Golden Grove on the east coast of Demerara were furious over a report that an undercover policeman, Kristoff De Nobrega, is accused of the brutal murder of Quindon Bacchus. The Police Complaints Authority (PCA) is reportedly investigating the incident which may have stemmed from Bacchus’ alleged efforts to sell a handgun to the officer or a quarrel between the two.

Amid growing criticism from the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), the Alliance for Change (AFC) and the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), the reformed People’s National Congress (PNCR) blamed the government for having infiltrated the demonstration and caused chaos at Mon Repos Marché.

Regarding the blocking of the East Coast Demerara public road with debris from Golden Grove to Mon Repos, the GHRA said residents have the right to use this east-west route without obstruction. “Similarly should be censured those whose excessive response has seen the main public road blocked, causing considerable disruption to countless numbers of people trying to go about their normal business on the East Coast,” the association said.

The performance of the Guyana Police and the Guyana Defense Force in containing the unrest has also been criticized by the GHRA. “The violent and unruly behavior of the GPF/Joint Services must also be condemned both for the expansion of the protest along the East Coast and for the terrorizing of the inhabitants of the village of Golden Grove throughout the night of 28 June,” the GHRA noted. That night, police fired tear gas and pellets at protesters who charged them. A few hours later, more than a dozen people were arrested and brought before the court for rioting.

This association is also concerned about the negative impact of social media on the peace and stability of the nation, in light of claims that the unrest was sparked by an article in the Daily News Guyana that Mr De Nobrega had been released. “We need to pay more attention to the speed at which social media impacts and ignites the same way we need to separate crime from real protest and the extent to which frustration with police incompetence encourages overreactions,” the association said. Daily News Guyana, a publication suspected of being owned or associated with the friend of a key PPP politician, has since suspended the head of the entity. The Guyana Press Association said it does not recognize Daily News Guyana as a legitimate media house.

The GHRA said it had no confidence in the investigation into the incident by the PCA and the Police Force Professional Accountability Office, as they are both at the request of the Commissioner of Police. The decades-old organization has further expressed concern about the politicization of the appointment of the Police Services Board, the constitutional body responsible for appointing and disciplining members, from inspector to deputy commissioner.

The Guyanese government has since begun compensating Mon Repos market vendors for damage, destruction and theft of their stock and other items by a number of people who participated in the protest.

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