Police this afternoon arrested social activists Mark Benschop and Freddie Kissoon for allegedly blocking the Le Repentir entrance to the Mandela dumpsite.
Up to 6.30 pm, the men were still in police custody at the Brickdam Police Station. Their lawyer Khemraj Ramjattan was attempting to make contact with Divisional Commander George Vyphuis to have them released.
Ramjattan in an invited comment said that Assistant Commissioner Vyphuis told him that he received information from police ranks who were at the scene that the two were obstructing the use of the gate. According to the Commander, the attorney said the men chained and padlocked the gate which prevented people from entering.
Ramjattan said that he spoke with his clients and they have both disputed that version.
He explained that Kissoon told him that he only went to the area after receiving a telephone call. On arrival there, he parked his car and when he came out he was arrested, the attorney told this newspaper.
“He knows nothing about obstruction”, Ramjattan stressed to this newspaper.
He noted that the accusation is very minor and is bailable. Ramjattan said that the Commander indicated to him that he would like to have some statements on the issue and would consider bail later tonight.
Last weekend Benschop parked his vehicle in front of same gate that led to the dumpsite in protest over what he termed the authorities’ disregard for the health of residents living nearby.
Police were later engaged in a stand-off outside Benschop’s home, where they had gone to question him about the incident.