The country’s main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) has issued a lengthy response to a national address given by Prime Minister Gaston Browne as it relates to Sunday’s protest.
The party has accused Browne of “hiding behind unsubstantiated rhetoric”.
The party said in a statement that the Attorney-General, the Police Commissioner and the Riot Squad of the Police Force have all come in for condemnation, criticism, and rejection by nationals and residents on island; members of the diaspora; and Caribbean neighbours, since defenseless children, women and men were tear-gassed and rubber-bulleted.
The party said in a shocking contrast to the peaceful demonstrations that have taken place across the region and further abroad, the world has seen – firsthand, through live recordings the brutality that was meted out locals by those who are sworn to protect and serve – with the blessing of the current administration.
According to the statement “To cover their shame, the prime minister has resorted to “naked lies”, trying to link the incident to some conspiracy between the United Progressive Party, the Freedom Fighters of Antigua & Barbuda, and unnamed criminals.
The party also challenged the Prime Minister and the Attorney General to not only produce evidence that the police reacted to provocation by the protesters, but to show any collaboration between the Freedom Fighters and the Party, and to name the criminals that were accused of instigated unrest.
The response from the party follows a national address last night in which the Prime Minister pointed to political operatives, accusing them of organising what officials have termed as an illegal demonstration in the national’s capital.
Several residents took to the streets on Sunday August 8, 2021, to demonstrate their frustration with the current state of emergency and the governments vaccination policy among other issues.
The protest ended in a standoff between the police and residents after lawmen police resorted to using tear gas to disperse the crowd.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne told the nation last night the action was motivated by political rivals.
According to Browne, who was with his family vacationing in St Lucia at the time of the protest, the organizers of Sunday’s events wanted no peaceful protest labelling it a pre-meditated plan to create chaos and confusion.
He also singled out the United Progressive Party and its members whom he claims are preying on the concerns of the vulnerable.
Furthermore, he addressed the actions of the policy saying while government officials did not give an order for the use of tear gas, it was warranted due to what was happening on the ground.