APNU Calls For Commission Of Inquiry Into Police Brutality In Guyana

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News Americas, GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Thurs. Dec. 8, 2011: Presidential Candidate of A Partnership for National Unity, Brigadier David Granger, has condemned the brutality of elements of the Guyana Police Force who shot several demonstrators on Tuesday 6th November.

The A.P.N.U leader also demanded the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry into the incident and for the punishment of officers who breached police force regulations concerning the use of ‘minimum force’ in internal security.

Police repeatedly fired rubber pellets at near point-blank range into a group of protestors during a march in Hadfield Street, Georgetown. Several persons sustained multiple injuries. Students of the St. Sidwell’s Primary School were rushed to the hospital after they complained of being affected by tear smoke which the Police discharged indiscriminately in an attempt to disperse persons gathered at the Square of the Revolution.

Granger met Police Divisional Commander George Vyphuis at Brickdam and Police Commissioner Henry Greene at Eve Leary to express his distress over the shooting of peaceful demonstrators and to demand that the police adhere to humane methods of dealing with citizens. He accused the police of employing “excessive force”, pointing out that Police Regulations required the use of “minimum force” to disperse unlawful assemblies.

Granger also condemned the police conduct as a dangerous “overreaction” to the situation. He called on the police to “desist from shooting innocent people and causing injury,” accusing the police of “creating a crisis where none should exist.” He pointed out that the YCT march was not unlawful and not unruly. No one was attacked and no public property was damaged. Marchers were not in possession of weapons or noisy instruments.

Granger also reiterated that citizens have the right to peaceful demonstration and assembly. The right to protest is “a fundamental human right… a constitutional right” which cannot be taken away by the police. That right can be restricted only when there is a clear threat to public order or to the rights and freedoms of others, he said.

Granger pointed out that the Youth Coalition for Transformation organized the march which began at the Square of the Revolution at about 9:30 a.m.. The small demonstration of about 300 persons, mainly young people, was aimed at calling on the Guyana Elections Commission to release the Statements of Poll from the 28th November General and Regional elections to be verified. The Commission’s credibility was eroded by its blasé attitude towards legitimate complaints over unannounced last-minute changes; delays in the counting of votes; mistakes in computation and failure to make Statements of Poll available for public scrutiny.