Home Letters Abuse of right to lawful protest should result in arrest and prosecution
APNU/AFC supporters descended on the State House for the second time in a week to engage their leader, without regard for COVID-19 restrictions. What is equally disturbing this time, however, is that some decided or may have been instructed to up the ante.
At least one person stopped the leader’s convoy from leaving the State House, by lying on the roadway and in the convoy’s path. The press further reported that she refused to move when asked. The leader will decide whether this was hooliganism and whether someone will have to “pay” for this.
The public, however, should expect nothing less than the arrest and timely prosecution of those who associated with the blockade. It may very well happen again.
It cannot be true that the safety of the leader, who is also the caretaker President, was not compromised as was suggested. The caretaker President was forced to stop, which means that his right to move freely was violated in the middle of a protest.
This represents a threat to him and by extension, the security of the State. It is especially so as the State is under tremendous stress due to the election impasse.
In short, what transpired is unacceptable and points to greater dangers to come if it is not properly addressed now. Indeed, the current status quo suggests that these staged demonstrations or protests by APNU/AFC supporters are likely to increase.
These are not storms created in teacups. Rather, persons with real names organise them, because the Constitution allows people to assemble freely or protest lawfully.
It is imperative, however, that abuse of this right results in arrest and prosecution.
To these extents, the police must be proactive and cease being sideline observers. This has occurred too often in the past, and it has encouraged significant public injury including the subversion of the electoral process.
Too often in the past protesters simply ran amok and looted and burnt and beat as they pleased because the police seemed to be unable to handle these situations or simply preferred to stand by and watch.