Police and protestors face off in Antigua

first_img Share Tweet Sharing is caring! Share ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Friday March 11, 2011 – The riot squad was called out yesterday evening to ensure that opposition Antigua Labour Party (ALP) protestors complied with police orders during a protest billed the ‘White March’, hours after a morning picket that was supposed to be peaceful threatened to deteriorate.The larger of the two – the ‘White March’ which attracted thousands of people, based on ALP estimates – had been publicized for several weeks as a protest against the failures of the United Progressive Party (UPP) government. When police attempted to change the route during the march, after 6 pm, it did not go down well with party officials or protestors who accused the authorities of intimidation.An angry ALP Chairman Gaston Browne said the march route had been approved by police, in writing, and they would be acting in accordance with that written permission. “They have deliberately changed the route in order to frustrate our march,” Browne said. “We will not be intimidated under any circumstances.” The riot squad was deployed to block the planned route and was booed by protestors. The officers, in full gear, stood their ground as the demonstrators taunted them and declared that they too would not back down.The confrontation lasted for about 15 minutes before the riot squad was ordered to withdraw and the march continued along its planned route, ending in a rally where several ALP speakers addressed the crowd about the incompetence and shortcomings of the ruling party. Earlier in the day, ALP picketers outside the office of National Security Minister Dr Errol Cort had minor scuffles with police in another dispute over where they could and could not protest. The picketers, who’d gathered at 9 am, initially marched up and down one side of the building, waving placards with messages for Dr Cort to step aside until questions are answered about whether his law firm paid taxes on the EC$3 million (US$1.1 million) in retainer fees which it allegedly received from fraud-accused Allen Stanford. The ALP’s call follows a US$1 million lawsuit filed against Dr Cort, a former Finance Minister, by Stanford investors last month.The protestors loudly chanted ‘Errol Cort must go right now’ as they walked along the street but at one stage decided to change the direction of their picket. Lawmen on the scene tried to prevent them from doing so and that led to shoving and shouting from both sides. At one point, it seemed the peaceful picket would turn violent but, shortly after, the police allowed the protestors to have their way until noon when the picket ended. The ALP chairman said yesterday that he was pleased with the turnout at both of the opposition’s protests, declaring them successes.Source: Caribbean360Photo credit: Anika Kentishcenter_img 58 Views   no discussions Share NewsRegional Police and protestors face off in Antigua by: – March 11, 2011last_img

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