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EU, ECOWAS react to Gambia protests: caution against 'coup' voices

EU, ECOWAS react to Gambia protests: caution against 'coup' voices


The West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, and European Union delegation in the Gambia have commented on recent political ongoings in the West African country.

Their statements called for the respect of the rule of law on the part of all groups staging protests for one reason or the other. It further stressed their support for democratic processes in the Gambia cautioning against unconstitutional calls for change of government.

Gambians have held pro and anti-government protests in the last few weeks. The first was an anti-government, Three Years JOTNA, march asking president Adama Barrow to respect a promise to serve three terms in office.

The pro-government march, Five-Years-JOTAGUL, staged last week said incumbent Adama Barrow had to serve his full five-year term. Then this week, there was a protest by the party of exiled leader Yahya Jammeh, demanding his return from Equatorial Guinea.

A statement from the ECOWAS representative to The Gambia and carried by the local news outlet Freedom Newspaper read in part: “Though these protests have so far been peaceful, the ECOWAS Mission wishes to categorically state that it is totally against any group or party that seeks to undermine the constitution of The Gambia…

“… and by extension any group that seeks to forcefully demand the removal of any constitutionally and democratically elected government, which contravenes the provisions of the ECOWAS 2001 Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.”

In its statement the EU delegation also stressed that it was “not in any way associated with, neither supports any particular political movement seeking to illegally or unconstitutionally change the democratic order in The Gambia.”

Press statement regarding the ongoing and announced public protests#PressRelease EUinTheGambia pic.twitter.com/iFMqLvWA0N

— EU in The Gambia (EUinTheGambia) January 17, 2020

The government through the Interior Ministry backed a police ban on a second round of anti-government protest. Police however okayed the pro-Jammeh protests and have yet to give the green light to a proposed march by Jammeh’s victims.

The victims say they are marching to denounce the demand by Jammeh’s allies. The group insist that the former leader has a plethora of crimes waiting for him from killings and other gross rights abuses to financial crimes.

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