Three people were killed in The Gambia as hundreds took to the streets demanding the resignation of President Adama Barrow who wants to extend his term.
The deaths occurred on Sunday in the capital, Banjul, after police fired tear gas to disperse protesters who responded by throwing stones, AFP news agency reported.
“I can confirm that there have been three dead,” said Kebba Manneh, director of the Serrekunda hospital, where the victims were taken.
They were the first deaths since protests erupted months ago in the tiny West African country against Barrow, who pledged in late 2016 to step down after three years in office.
Manneh told journalists that others brought to the hospital were being treated for gas inhalation.
“The military has been deployed and security forces are out arresting people. They are out on the streets firing at peace protesters, backed by the military,” said Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque, reporting from Dakar, Senegal.
“Several radio stations have been shut down and journalists have been arrested,” Haque said.
Anger against Barrow
The demonstrators are angry that Barrow reversed an initial pledge to step down in line with a deal with an opposition coalition that helped bring him to power in 2016.
The agreement stipulated that Barrow would resign after three years in office, two years before the end of his presidential term.
“No one can force me to leave the presidency before 2021,” he said recently.
Haque said Barrow is under pressure from people who see his rule as authoritarian.
Barrow took over the presidency in January 2017 from longtime leader Yahya Jammeh, who ruled the country with an iron fist for 22 years and now lives in exile in Equatorial Guinea where he fled in 2017.
Jammeh’s rule was marked by arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings, according to rights activists. He recently announced plans to return to the West African nation.
Source: AL JAZEERA