Security forces arrested at least three people and wounded several protesters, who had gathered in the streets of Bakoteh on Sunday to demand the re-closure of a dumpsite.
Protesters scattered scrambling for safety after the riot police threw tear gas into the crowd as a standoff ensued between demonstrators and the police.
“They severely beat some people and arrest three people here, including a brother and a sister,” residents and activists say.
“There were children and old people in the crowd and the tear gas seriously affected them.”
Gambian authorities say the protesters were armed with stones and were using profanity to agitate police officers deployed in Bakoteh’s residential area to maintain order.
Gambia’s police minister, Mai Ahmad Fatty has warned residents and activists in a meeting on Sunday morning that he has “two million people to protect” and will not “allow a few people to put those at risk.”
An opposition politician, Mama Kandeh and the Member of Parliament for Serrekunda, Halifa Sallah has met with constituents and called for restraint.
Sallah said he has been informed by the police chief, Landing Kinteh that those arrested have been released, but the information could not be independently verified.
Activists and residents campaigned to shut down the Bakoteh Dumpsite over health concerns and pollution.
Many asthmatic children, mysterious deaths, cancers and health complications have been reported in the area and activists and residents blamed the municipal council for improper waste management.
Kanifing Municipality Mayor, Yankuba Colley has announced he not be running for office next year after protesters dumped truckloads of trash at his office.
Trash at the Bakoteh Dumpsite is not recycled or put into incinerators or suppressed. They are burnt in the open landfill, an act that has polluted the area with serious health implications.