In court, a police officer said protests organized by The Gambia’s government even without a permit are “not arrestable demonstrations.”
The Gambia’s government organized protests to say “no to EU demand” and to condemn a botched December coup that laid siege on the president’s official residence. But none in the double 10,000 man match was arrested, according to defense attorney Borry S. Touray.
Touray is the counsel for at least a dozen people who were arrested in May for allegedly taking part in an anti-government protest over the death of a senior opposition activist and prosecution of UDP leader Ousainou Darboe.
Sub-inspector Samba Bah of the Police Intervention Unit was among the officers that arrested the protesters who were walking on the side of the road on their way home from Banjul.
Attorney Touray put it to the court that there were demonstrations organized by the government in the past but security forces were not mobilized to disrupt those processions or to arrest anyone taking part.
But Sub-Inspector Bah said this instead: “they were not arrestable demonstrations.”
Bah admitted that there were no reports of violence, rioting, vehicles and properties being destroyed, police being attacked and said they were “passers-by.” Bah said he could not identify them and that none of them had party ID cards but arrested anyone with a party flag.
But most worrying, Bah said he could not remember his own fellow officer’s names who took part in the arrest.