Monday, 14 January 2013 22:18(JollofNews) – The much talked about stage-managed protest went ahead in Banjul last Friday, and President Yahya Jammeh was at hand to receive a declaration said to be denouncing the European Union for daring to interfere in the internal affairs of Gambia.
Hundreds of people, transported by the regime from across the country, marched from the Arch 22 to the gate of State House, where they presented the declaration.
“The people of The Gambia acting in solidarity with you, Your Excellency, hereby show our grievances and total disagreement with the European Union’s unwarranted and pre-empty strive through this popular demonstration,” the man at the head of the protests, Saihou Sanyang, permanent secretary No.1 at the Ministry of Regional Administration, Lands and Traditional Rulers, said as he handed over the document to President Jammeh.
Gambians are not normally allowed to embark on demonstrations, not even when such protests do not directly relate to matters of the government.
Recently, two Gambian journalists were detained and charged for daring to apply for permit to demonstrate against the infamous execution of death row inmates by the government.
A senior opposition leader was earlier jailed for holding a banned political rally.
Those actions and a number of others have culminated in the recent EU demand for political dialogue with the regime.
The EU issued a 17-point proposal in line with the Cotonou Agreement reached between it and APC countries, which the Gambia is part of. They include review of the death penalty and halting of persecution of the press.
An angry Yahya Jammeh went berserk, accusing the EU of seeking to destabilize his country.
On Friday Jammeh reiterated those words of his.
“I don’t think I need to tell anybody whether Asian, European, Latin American or African or whatever you are, who I am and what I stand for. I am Yahya AJJ Jammeh born in 1965 in Kanilai, a few months after independence. That tells everybody that I didn’t want to be born under colonialism and I want to also tell you, the same Yahya AJJ Jammeh that risked his life as a Lieutenant in 1994 to liberate this country is the same Yahya Jammeh who is here to die for Africa and for The Gambia,” he said.
And he added: “The reason why we attached that nonsense [the 17 points political dialogue] from the EU is for every one of you to scrutinise and see what they are proposing. One, they didn’t mention anything about education, health and agriculture and all that they are talking about is the freedom of criminals.”
Organisers of the stage-managed demo, after holding a brief meeting with Jammeh following the protest march, headed for the National Assembly (parliament) where they handed over the same document to the waiting parliamentarians.
They said they wanted the lawmakers to take up the matter with the EU parliament.
Written by Kemo Cham
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