Gambians Protest the Killings of George Floyd, Modou Lamin Sisay
By Arfang M.S. Camara
Gambians and non-Gambians today (Saturday) held a protest march against the killings of an African American George Floyd, and Modou Lamin Sisay, a Gambian, by American police.
Modou Lamin Sisay is a 39-year-old Gambian resident in a county northeast of Atlanta in the US, who was shot by police in the early hours of May 29 — four days after the killing of George Floyd set off global outrage over the treatment of Black people in the United States.
The protest march this Saturday started from the Pipeline Mosque to the American Embassy in Banjul.
The slogan and banners posted during the protest were: “Black Lives Matter”; “Say no to racism and police brutality”; “I can’t breathe”; “No justice No peace”; “stand up to racism”; “I’m not a threat”; “We are here to protest for our rights”; “Justice for George Floyd”; “Power to the people” among others.
The protesters are demanding for justice for the death of George Floyd and Modou Lamin Sisay, fondly called ‘Boy Sisay’, who both died in Police custody in the US.
A petition statement read by Momodou King Colley states that the murder of Floyd “was an act of provocation and contempt [against Black people] that has been going on in United States for centuries.”
“Whenever we cried, we are laughed at and they give flimsy excuses, justification and counter arguments and the racism, discrimination and harassment continues.”
King Colley denounced racism as unacceptable and that “it does not matter where a person comes from and the pigmentation of his skin. Racism and discrimination in all forms is unacceptable.”
“We have no tears left” Colley expressed, while stressing their determination to fight in the absence of any other option to challenge the status quo.
“In essence, we are not here to appeal to the United States to respect and protect the rights of Black [people] but we are demanding it. Otherwise, the United States’ government should ask themselves whether they want to live in isolation. We cannot and will not allow their Embassies to operate in our various countries while they continue to treat Black people with complete disregard and contempt.” the statement reads.
The statement further called on the United States’ government to make sure that Justice is done in the case of George Floyd, Lamin Sisay and others, stating they should practice what they preach.
Kemenseng Sanneh, another prominent member of the protesters said that they held the protest to show the entire world that their rights must be protected.
“We want justice to prevail and to be seen to be done in the killings of brother George and Modou Lamin Sisay. The American authority should make sure that they practice what they preach;
He said America advocates the respect for fundamental human rights elsewhere yet “American authorities are always found wanting of violating these fundamental rights.”
Mr Sanneh additionally called for investigation into the death of Modou Lamin Sisay and to ensure that perpetrators are brought to book.
For his part, Momodou Sabally, former Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service said that the Gambia should have been the first country to protest the killing of George Floyd and Modou Lamin Sisay because of its historical experience with torture and ill treatment.
“The whole business of slavery and the attempt at redemption is centered around one personality and that is Kunta Kinteh” an American slave captured from the Gambia.
Sabally expressed disappointment with the Gambian authorities’ handling of their request to protest in consideration of the current lockdown regulations, as well as particular social activists’ no show, citing even advance countries’ like the UK have broken lockdown rules in favor of the protest.
Receiving the petition letter on behalf of the American Embassy in Banjul, Rebecca McKnight, Regional Security Officer, US Embassy in Banjul said that they have constituted a meaningful reform that would be put into action to value democracy and respect for human rights and dignity for all.
“The US Embassy shares this value with Gambians and we thank you for this petition and the opportunity to engage on this topic.”