Residents block road at Agricola over Rohee, treatment of accused cop
Residents of Agricola this afternoon blocked the East Bank Demerara roadway with burning tyres as tempers flared at government’s comments that Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee “will not be moved” coupled with what they called preferential treatment of the police officer who was charged with the murder of Shaquille Grant.
The protests began during afternoon rush hour, 4pm-5pm, when thousands of workers and school children usually begin their journeys home. The electricity went off in the area at 6:29pm and thousands of persons are believed stuck on both sides of the roadway.
The Guyana Police Force, Fire Service and the water cannon were deployed to the area but there are reports that the water cannon experienced a “breakdown” and is currently stuck at Ruimveldt.
At present commuters on the four-lane highway are stuck in traffic which is backed up from as far as Ramp Road about a half mile away. Some others who use the Demerara Harbour Bridge have turned up in large numbers at the Stabroek Market Stelling to take speed boats to cross the river instead.
The Police this evening issued a press release on the Agricola situation.
It said that “At about 1600h today Thursday October 11, 2012, a large number of persons gathered on the roadway and threw tyres and other obstacles across both carriageways of the East Bank Demerara road at Agricola and set them on fire, causing traffic traversing the roadway to come to a standstill.
“Bricks, bottles and other articles were thrown at the police ranks who initially responded to the incident and other ranks were mobilized along with personnel from the Guyana Fire Service.
“The unruly crowd, some of whom were armed with pieces of wood and cutlasses, blocked the Guyana Fire Service vehicles from getting to the location of the burning tyres and other materials despite pleas from the Joint Services personnel.
“The police continued to plead with the crowd and also employed the use of the water canon to disperse them, which was not sufficiently effective, and consequently resorted to the use of tear smoke.
“Later, police ranks and Fire Service personnel managed to extinguish the burning tyres and other debris and are presently removing obstacles that had been thrown along both carriageways of the road.
“A motor vehicle was also set on fire during the protest.
“Traffic is flowing along the western carriageway while efforts are continuing to clear the eastern carriageway.”