Acting Prime Minister, Reginald Austrie, has said the police exercised great constraint during a massive protest in Salisbury last week saying many people could have been killed.
He also described the event as a ‘riot’ organized by supporters of the United Workers Party (UWP).
“Police could have killed several people in Salisbury,” Austrie said on the Next Level Program on privately owned Kairi FM on the weekend. “Many officers were injured, their vehicles were damaged but they exercised a lot of restraint.”
On Thursday June 11, the community was engulfed in a massive protest after the police swept in and arrested six residents on allegations that they were part of similar protest action on May 11.
The arrests enraged members of the community who blocked the road and later faced the police who responded with tear gas. It is also reported that live ammunition was used by the police.
Austrie said many people have branded the police as cowards, who were afraid of taking action.
“But I am saying to you the last thing we want in this country is for any form of violence to derail us from achieving our economic prosperity,” he said.
He described the event as politically motivated.
“We keep referring to this thing in Salisbury as a protest,” he said. “But it was a riot in Salisbury instigated by the supporters of the United Workers Party using the farmers and farms roads as an excuse for breaking the law and misbehaving.”
But Leader of the United Workers Party (UWP), Lennox Linton, has a different take on the matter.
He did not describe the protest as politically motivated but said it was the action of the police that was motivated by politics.
At a press conference last week he said the police’s action in Salisbury cannot be described as ‘discretion exercised by the police in the public interest of peace and stability.’
“This was politically motivated, it is clear that the police commissioner and his men are not acting out of their own strict law enforcement responsibilities, restrictions and so on but out of directives coming from the politicians in power,” he stated. “And we are asking them to be very careful about that and desist from that practice because it is not a good practice.”