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Anti-government protest movement banned in Gambia

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The Government in Banjul has announced that it is banning the Three Years Jotna (Three Years are Up) movement from operating within the jurisdiction of The Gambia, describing it as an illegal, violent and subversive group.

The ban follows a day of violent scenes outside the capital as the movement’s demonstrators clashed with personnel of the Police Intervention Unit using rubber bullets and teargas to disperse the protesters on Sunday, 26 January 2020.

The demonstrators, spearheaded by the movement, were out to exert pressure on President Barrow to step down in honour of an electoral campaign promise he made in 2016 about giving up power and calling for fresh elections to which he would not be a candidate after three years.

“Members of the public are hereby notified that in fact, the Jotna Movement was never legally registered but the Government, in exercise of its openness and adherence to the democratic rights of citizens, allowed them to operate so long as their activities were consistent with the law” a statement by the Spokesman of the Presidency, Ebrima Sankareh said.

The statement claimed the movement “has all the attributes of a subversive group determined to illegally unseat the constitutionally elected Government of President Adama Barrow and is therefore, banned forthwith”.

It warned citizens against aiding and abetting “the illegal movement masquerading as a pressure group” and warned them of severe consequences if they are found dealing with the group whose senior members, it said, are either in hiding or on the run.

The Government stated that while it regrets to report that some people sustained non-life threatening injuries, including eighteen paramilitary officers and seven civilians, it pointed out that there have been no fatalities – contrary to local media reports.

It confirmed the arrest of one-hundred and thirty-seven people in connection to Sunday’s protest and the closure of Home Digital FM and King FM radio stations pending the out-coming police investigations over what it called ‘licenses violations’.

“The Government notes with concern that the two FM stations have demonstrated notoriety for peddling incendiary messages and allowed their media to be used as platforms for inciting violence, fear-mongering and live broadcasts urging Gambians to join Jotna demonstrators all calculated to threaten the security and safety of The Gambia” the statement said.

– APA

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