The police today said it was “unfortunate” that some people were shot during yesterday’s demonstration and it said that contrary to news reports no tear gas was used.
Several people were injured after police opened fire with rubber bullets on A Partnership for National Unity demonstrators on Hadfield Street and the force has since been severely criticized for the way in which it handled the demonstration. Severely elderly persons and a child were injured. The force said that the demonstration was illegal and the marchers had been warned several times to disperse to no avail.
The police statement said: “Relative to reports carried in the media of the use of rubber bullets and tear gas by the police, the Guyana Police Force wishes to say that yesterday Tuesday December 06, 2011, in response to public demonstrations it was most unfortunate that persons were shot, though not seriously injured, and reports have stated that children were discomfited and inconvenienced in schools in the areas of operation.
“The Force wishes to state that its intention is always to maintain law and order. However, no tear gas was used during yesterday to disperse the protestors.
“Our actions are usually in the interest of the maintenance of law and order and in support of the safety, security and well-being of all Guyanese”, the statement added.
Members of the public have said that the police could have used other measures to contain the protesters rather than firing rubber bullets at them. Pupils at St Sidwells were traumatized by the incident and covered their mouths and nostrils because of a pungent odour in the air.
Former GDF Brigadier Eddie Collins and attorney James Bond were also injured.