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Activists condemn Gambia government’s refusal to allow protest against deportations from Germany

The Gambia Refugees Association – Europe Branch in collaboration with Concerned Gambians Group in The Gambia has expressed dismay at the decision of the Gambia Police Force to deny them a permit to hold a peaceful protest in the wake of recent deportations especially from Germany.

“The Concerned Gambians Group has applied for a permit since 27th January 2021 but unfortunately received a reply on 31st March 2021 from the Police Management, signed by AIG Ebrima Bah, indicating that the police cannot grant us a permit due to the Covid-19 restrictions,” Yahya Sonko, the spokesperson of Gambia Refugees Association- Europe Branch, said in a statement. “Our position is that the Covid-19 restrictions are not being respected and are not implemented.”

Mr Sonko added: “The Government of Adama Barrow cannot use the police to deter us from protesting when they are the first to violate the restrictions. So why is the police using the Covid-19 restrictions to deter us from holding a peaceful protest? This is unfair as we have seen them granting permits to political parties to hold rallies, tours, congresses, meetings, etc including the President’s party. Also the police have granted permit to the musicians to launch their new Album on 9th April amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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Mr Sonko wondered why the police didn’t advise the Gambian government to tell the European Union to stop deportations of Gambians in Germany due to the Covid-19 restrictions.

“Therefore, we are calling on all political party leaders in The Gambia to support us in this course and tell the government and the police the truth. Let the police issue us a permit or else we will do our peaceful protest without permit as guaranteed by the Constitution. We will not announce the date of protest but we will organize among ourselves and do the peaceful protest anytime from now if they refuse to issue us a permit.”

By Bakary Ceesay