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Anti-Jammeh protesters charged over 'illegal' demonstration

Anti-Jammeh protesters charged over 'illegal' demonstration

Gambia

Gambian authorities have charged at least 37 people for organising protests deemed illegal by authorities last week.

The protests on April 14 and 16 by mostly youths and opposition members in the capital Banjul, were to demand electoral reforms as well as pressure President Yahya Jammeh who has been in power since 1994 to step down.

The country’s High Court said 18 out of the 37 have been charged Wednesday with assembling unlawfully, rioting, inciting violence and interfering with vehicles, Reuters reported.

Their cases have been adjourned until April 27, with their defence team expected to file bail applications on April 21.

At least 50 people were arrested for demonstrating last Thursday according to the main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP).

The Secretary of the UDP, Solo Sandeng and two others are feared to have died while in detention.

Rights groups have so far confirmed only Sandeng’s death, which triggered further demonstrations culminating in the arrest of UDP leader Ousainu Darboe, IBTimes UK reported.

Reuters quoted opposition sources as saying that fifteen people were released on Tuesday, but the rest remain in custody.

The Gambia heads to the polls in December and its long time ruler, Yahya Jammeh is expected to win another term in office.