About two dozen people stood at the Westfield Square Sunday afternoon in a show of defiance, which saw the protest leader giving a statement condemning the decision by authorities to revoke their protest permit.
The #OccupyWestfield movement is protesting against frequent power cuts and water shortage in the country. Authorities had first denied them a permit, then withdrew the decision granting them a permit and reversing the decision again.
“We won’t cower down at the eleventh hour and let draconian laws win over the constitution. We stand in solidarity with the supreme law of the land and most of all our human right to gather in peace and protest,” said protest leader Alieu Bah.
Police confronted the protesters and demanded they disperse, warning force will be used to quell the gathering. But the protest organizers say they remain firm and resolute despite the indecisiveness of authorities.
The police have cited national security concerns to invoke the Public Order Act, which activists say is constitutional and is being challenged in the country’s Constitutional Court.
The minister that was negotiating with the protest organizers to hold off has been fired by President Barrow for obscure reasons. Protest leader Alieu Bah said Mai Ahmad Fatty came off as a well-meaning, humble and approachable person.
“He accorded us the dignity and respect we deserve and more. This came as a blow to me. I wish him well in his newest endeavor. He indeed does love and admires young people,” said Bah.
Bah said Sunday’s gathering was not a protest but meeting to register their disappointment at the government over the continued denial of the permit.
Now that they have expressed their dismay, the #OccupyWestfield leaders say they will “never expose our people to police brutality” but will continue to press authorities to bow down to their request for a permit.