Police in Guyana have defended the use of tear gas and pellets to disperse people protesting the brutal murders of two teenagers on Monday night, even as the main opposition coalition, A Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) called for an immediate ceasefire and for the police to desist from injuring and maiming innocent citizens.
Police said that they fired tear gas and pellets at protestors to clear the road at Hopetown, West Coast Berbice saying they had also received reports that several robberies were being committed during the protest.
“Additionally, the Force wishes to state that when protest action degenerates into unlawful acts, infringing on the rights of other citizens and putting the protection of life and the safeguard of property at risk, the GPF will consequently take the appropriate action against perpetrators,” the Guyana Police Force (GPF) said in its statement.
Police said that five people have since been detained in connection with the murders of Isaiah and Joel Henry whose mutilated bodies were found Sunday n in the backlands of Cotton Tree, West Coast Berbice.
The APNU+AFC confirmed that one of its activists had been injured during the police action and shared photographs of the injuries.
“The APNU+AFC calls for an immediate ceasefire and for the police to desist from injuring and maiming innocent citizens. To shoot at innocent protestors is provocation and incitement by the police and will, in all likelihood, result in a response which the fraudulent and illegitimate PPP government will be held totally and ultimately responsible for,” the opposition said in a statement.
It said that the people of Hopetown, No. 3 Village and “all the people of Guyana have a right to be outraged by the dastardly slaughter of Isaiah and Joel Henry”.
On Monday both government and opposition officials called for an end to the protest and allow for the police to investigate the matter.
Media reports said vehicular traffic going east and west ground to an almost standstill, causing commuters to walk for miles past the hotspot to board other vehicles to continue their onward journeys.