The police must continue to show restraint in dealing with protests

The police must continue to show restraint in dealing with protests

Dear Editor,

The recent organised protest activities by the opposition PPP/C and its supporters, with its lawful and unlawful methods, have not received condemnation by the array of organisations and individuals, both at home and aboard, who in the past had done so when Africans engaged in similar protest actions. These double standards speak volumes.

I use the opportunity to reiterate my position that people and their leadership have the right to resort to protest actions to advance their interests, whether social or political. And as a political realist, I take the position that at times protest actions overstep the legal threshold and sometimes get violent. This has been the universal human experience, which is often conveniently denied by many when discussing public protest. In previous polemics on this matter, I have pointed out that often we argue for levels of human behaviour that as a society we cannot maintain even with our best efforts, and in doing so distort the political culture of the nation.

I hope that the PPP/C supporters note the restraint demonstrated by the police under the APNU+AFC administration when compared with what took place when their party was in government. I do so as a person, who along with comrade Edward Collins (former GDF Chief of Staff), was shot with pellets while leading a peaceful APNU protest in Hadfield Street in 2011 in Georgetown. On another occasion in Linden, I and comrades from Georgetown, had to navigate unfamiliar terrain to avoid being hit by lethal gunfire by police, who were carrying out instructions of the PPP/C regime.

Unlike my detractors, who at the time of African protests called on the police to uphold law and order at any cost, with my African humanity, and as a survivor of African enslavement, I appeal to the APNU+AFC administration of which I am associated with, and the police, to continue to show restraint in dealing with these politically organised protests. To achieve its political objectives, the PPP/C leadership is seeking to force the security forces into actions that will advance their cause. I suspect that Jagdeo and the PPP/C leadership, realising that they have lost the elections, have now resorted to Plan ‘B’.

In closing, I have no difficulties understanding the inherent logic of the PPP/C leadership’s attitude to the election results, since this election was the “mother” of elections in Guyana.

Yours faithfully,

Tacuma Ogunseye

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