By Louise Jobe
Day to day business and other activities in Brikama has started returning to normal after the recent massive protest by ‘#OccupyBrikamaAreaCouncil’ movement last Wednesday, July 24th 2019.
The heavy security that was deployed around the Market and the Area Council premises before and after the recent protest, has also been removed and people can be seen going about their businesses as usual.
Wednesday’s clash between protesters and riot Police, resulted to injuries of dozens of people who were later hospitalized. The protest also halted businesses within the market.
Foday Manjang the President of the Brikama Vendors’ Association said he felt sadden and concerned about the whole issue which led to the closure of shops and interrupted businesses, that the use of tear gas by riot Police caused both vendors and buyers to flee the market area to protect themselves instead of their commodities.
‘‘Many people come to the market for their daily shopping. But on this particular day, they could not do it because of the chaos caused by the protest. This has affected the business environment,’’ he said.
The President of the Market Committee said they were not aware of the protest, which he said took them as a surprise because they were not prepared for it. Manjang raised the issue of the poor condition of the market, and further expressed the hope that the Area Council will work towards addressing the issues. He encouraged dialogue with the authorities as the best way to solve their problems.
Bolong Jabang a member of the Market Executive reiterated similar concerns and further urged the authorities to consider their concerns
Fatou Drammeh a vendor at the Brikama market said the protest has caused her great losses and set back; that she spent all her money to purchase goods and items hoping to re-sell them only to be disappointed on the day of the protest. ‘‘The commodities that I purchased got spoiled and rotten,’’ she said.
The PRO of ‘#OccupyBrikamaAreaCouncil’ Abubacarr Darboe, confirmed that they received a letter on Saturday from the authorities of the Brikama Area Council inviting them to a meeting on Monday July 29th 2019. Darboe said that the Council indicated in the letter that they need only five people to represent the group. PRO Darboe said they declined the invitation and requested the management of the Brikama Area Council to invite ten members from the group.
If readers can recall, ‘#OccupyBrikamaAreaCouncil’ was engaged in a protest last Wednesday 24th July 2019 and this halted business in the area. The protesters claim that their demands and needs from the Brikama Area Council as citizens of the West Coast Region were not met, and so they decided to hold a peaceful protest to call on the leadership of the Council to either meet their aspirations or leave office.