By Abdoulie Fatty
The Gambia Police Force on Wednesday arrested and detained thirteen (13) people in Brikama for violating the demolition order. They were detained at Brikama and Brusubi Police Stations.
The 13 arrestees included women vendors. Some allegedly returned to the place the police had already cleared and asked them not to occupy anymore while some were shopkeepers who were informed to move but they refused. The shopkeepers’ shops were not demolished as the police gave them the chance to move them on their own. However, on their return, the police found them doing business on the same locations and then arrested them.
A man who had just come from praying was arrested by the police after a senior police officer ordered his junior to arrest the man. The junior police officer asked his senior what the man has done, but the senior told him to comply because it was an order, resulting in the man’s arrest. When asked what happened, the man told the reporter he did not do anything and he was just from praying.
Women vendors were seen running in different directions to avoid the police while some stood and were pleading with the police to allow them to sell in order to have something to take home.
The reporter observed that there are two operation teams. One that does the demolition and another that comes later to arrest suspects.
Fatou Saidy, a resident of Busumbala, was found selling second hand clothing. She placed the clothing on a fence and she was asked to leave. But before leaving, she made a plea to the police to allow her to sell.
“I am a widow. I am taking care of my family’s feeding and schooling. Even today, my son asked me to pay his school fees but I don’t have anything to give him. I don’t even have any food for them today. Please, allow me to make sales today to have something to take home,” the tearful lady said.
The police asked her to vacate and she complied. Another lady ran away from the team and left her daughter because of fear. Many women have been pleading with the police to allow them to make sales, but the police would always turn them down.
The police impounded several goods and took them to the police station as the demolition exercise continues.