The actions on the part of the police present at the protest action in Kingstown on September 9 were excessive.
“I mean, you had half of the police force in Kingstown on Thursday,” Leader of the Opposition, Dr Godwin Friday said on the September 13 edition of the New Times radio program.
According to Friday, the protest was a peaceful one, however police behaved as if those individuals were behaving violently.
He was referring to the protest organized by the Public Service Union as part of the industrial action taken to oppose the policy by the government for front line, or public sector workers to get the COVID-19 vaccination.
“Traffic was allowed to flow because that was what we decided would happen,” he contended.
There were a number of arrests made, including one protestor who was beating a drum, Carly John – husband of Opposition Senator Shefforn John – and Adriana King.
“That show of force was obscene in the face of what was a very peaceful, uplifting, wonderful exhibition or expression of our democratic rights by the people of this country,” Friday said.
The opposition leader said that the people made the decision to have a peaceful protest and then to end with prayer.
“I thought it important that we had such a show of solidarity and prayer in Kingstown,” Friday said.
He commended those who turned up saying that they were deliberate and disciplined and ensured that the message was not lost although the police were out in their numbers.
There was a lot of provocation, Friday added.
“Police were seeking to stop persons from playing drums; drums that you can play at a cricket match, funeral and that we have used in the past in previous actions.”
Similarly, he said that police tried to prevent protestors from using bullhorns.
Friday referred to a meeting with the Commissioner of Police, Colin John, where he said that members of the New Democratic Party and its legal team had impressed on the CoP the need for persons to express themselves.
“People think this is an act of opposing the government, it is some of that,” Friday said.
“But it is not an act against, but for our democracy,” he continued adding that people ought not to let politics be placed above love of country.