Violence erupts as Ramesh, Jack supporters blocked from meeting

(Trinidad Express) – Tempers flared, tables were hurled amidst aggressive pushing, shoving and other types of physical confrontation.  There was also cursing.

And in the midst of it all, a ten-year-old was injured at Rienzi Complex, Couva, on Sunday.
The heavy presence of armed policemen did not stop the ‘bachannal’ and ‘madness’ that took place before the start of the UNC Congress meeting yesterday.

There were more people outside Rienzi Complex protesting than there were inside participating in the Congress meeting.
On Saturday, Opposition MPs Jack Warner and Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj had vowed to lead a crowd of 1,000 people to the Rienzi Complex and demand that the membership be allowed into the meeting.

They also made it clear that they intended to lead a peaceful demonstration and should the people not be allowed to enter, they would hold a separate meeting.

Their statement came after the UNC Executive took a decision to allow only delegates from each constituency into the Congress, and not observers (members and supporters).

Sticking to their plan, at 1 pm Warner and Maharaj gathered at the Trinidad Parboil Ltd company, located a few feet away from the Rienzi Complex, with a crowd of approximately 700 to 800 people.

The crowds wore yellow T-shirts with the words “Building UNC Alliance for Government” written on the back.
They held placards stating “Yes we need change”, “We fed up in the Opposition”, and “Panday failed sugar workers”.
Warner and Maharaj addressed the crowd saying the membership under the Constitution of the UNC had the right to enter the Congress meeting. They said the people were entitled to be involved in the business of the party and should not be blocked.
Arm in arm followed by a sea of yellow-jerseyed supporters and a tassa section, Warner and Maharaj then proceeded to walk toward the Rienzi Complex.

It was high drama as the people chanted, blew their whistles and waved their placards.

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