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Activists urge Gov’t to drop charges against ‘3 years Jotna’ protesters


A coalition of civil society organizations have petitioned Gambia Government officials to drop charges against 15 young people arrested in connection to ‘3 years Jotna’ protest.

The young people were arrested at Senegambia area couple of weeks ago as they walked to the Kairaba Hotel where coalition stakeholders were having a meeting.

The meeting of the coalition stakeholders was primarily intended to amend the coalition agreement to extend the mandate of the president from 3 to 5 years.

The 15 people were charged with illegal protest in contravention to country’s Public Order Act.

Gambian leader President Adama Barrow has come to power on the backing of 7 political parties and 3 independent candidates. He has promised a 3-year transition after which he would resign and organize an election.

However, he now appears to have changed his mind but activists and some political supporters are of the view that he should resign. Several people are calling for protest if he did not resign by the end of 2019.

The 15 people were the first batch of Gambians arrested in connection to ‘3-year Jotna’ protest.

“Refrain from unduly interfering with the lawful exercise of citizens fundamental rights particularly of their right to assembly and speech,” civil society coalition urged the Government in their petition on Monday.

“Refrain from any acts in future that seek to violate the constitutionally guaranteed rights of citizens, undermine the rule of law and abrogate the Constitution.”

The activists said they are leaving their options open including suing the Government for violation of the rights of citizens.

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