At least 16 drivers that were charged last month for protesting the government’s new fares have appeared before a judge on Wednesday facing multiple charges.
They were brought before a judge in the administrative city of Brikama. According to their indictment, they were charged with obstructing traffic, breaching the peace, and common nuisance.
Gambian authorities have dropped charges of unlawful assembly and violent provocation after the drivers took to the streets without a permit from the police.
The police said the striking drivers attacked their colleagues that refused to take part in the protest and confronted the riot police unit that was deployed to defuse the situation.
At least 13 of those arrested were minors and most were arrested at Tobokoto, Tippa Garage, and Coastal Road. The minors, mostly trainee drivers were sent to the juvenile detention center in Jeshwang.
At least 60 drivers in the Greater Brikama and Banjul areas were arrested for taking part in the protest. The transport union, which was in talks with the government said it is dismayed that the drivers were charged.
According to drivers, the lowering of fares will affect their salaries and lower their earnings, meaning they would be unable to meet minimal profit margins need for the businesses to thrive.