Residents of Agricola Community clash with riot police
The clash between the riot police and protestors at Agricola continued into late last evening. Persons who were stranded because of the blocked roadway were not able to get home until after midnight in some cases. The Police were only able to push villagers back into the Agricola community and clear the road at around 10pm, that was more than 5 hours after the protest had started.
Some Residents said, they came out in protest after Dr. Luncheon’s statements at a morning press conference that he was ready to rumble with the opposition over Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee. The opposition parties have been calling on Rohee to go. Agricola residents have been protesting the police shooting death of 17-year-old, Shaquille Grant. Three police officers have been charged with the murder. Just one has been appearing in court, since the other two cannot be located.
From just before sunset, persons began setting fires to tires on the roadway, bringing vehicular traffic to a grinding halt. The riot police were called out and began their efforts to disperse the crowd. They used tear gas. And the water cannon after breaking down a few times on its way to the scene, was also added to the mix but could not offer much assistance as residents fought back. Police say bricks and bottles were hurled at them by the protesting crowd and one police officer was injured. He was taken to a private hospital for treatment.
The police continued with their efforts to clear the vital roadway and with more tear gas being thrown at the protestors, persons in their homes nearby complained about being affected. Some elderly persons and children including two babies had to be taken out of the area.
Reports also surfaced that a number of persons were robbed and pounced upon as they took various routes through nearby villages to escape what was taking place on the main thoroughfare. While all of that was taking place, Government Ministers and advisors appeared on state television and Government-friendly television, to begin leveling blame for what was taking place. The President, Capitol News understands was being briefed continuously.
Caribbean Airlines later announced that it was forced to cancel two of its flights owing to the unrest. A flight heading out of Guyana and another heading in from Trinidad were cancelled. A number of passengers would have been affected and would not have been able to get to, and from the airport during the time of the protest since the East bank carriageway, is the only roadway linking the city to the Timehri area.
A number of groups and political parties have criticized the protest action and the blockage of the roadway. And the Government has also been strongly criticized for the way it has been handling the situation and for some of what its pundits have been saying in the media and on the social network.