Political activist Luzette King will reappear before the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on January 19, 2016.
When she reappears, King will be expected to answer to the charge of “causing inconvenience to the public in the exercise of public rights, to wit, by sitting in the public road hindering the free flow of traffic contrary to Section 282 of the Criminal Code of Chapter 171 of the revised edition of the laws of St Vincent and the Grenadines 2009.”
King made her first appearance in court yesterday, after being arrested the day before. She was charged after she refused to remove from in front of the electoral office after being asked to do so by police.
According to a video posted on by Carib Update News Service on Facebook on Wednesday, Special Services Unit (SSU) officers had formed a human barricade around King and were guiding her movement, when she sat flat on the ground, refusing to move any further.
Yvette Tittle, who said she was present when the arrest took place told SEARCHLIGHT that King asked police why the protesters could no longer stand in front of the electoral office, but she was ignored.
“She say I am not moving, I am standing here still!” Tittle said, describing King’s reaction.
According to Tittle, following this, deputy commissioner of police Reynold Hadaway instructed the protestors that they would have to keep a distance of 200 yards.
“I say I don’t know we can’t stand in we own country. Why we have to move from here… well she say she not moving.” Tittle related.
“He call the rest police an dem and shield around her and start to push like; she drop on the ground… they ask she to move, she say she not moving and she wasn’t in the road to say she blocking the road, neither she was on the sideline sit down.”
Tittle said the police brought a vehicle to transport King and dragged her when another woman held on to her (King’s) feet, trying to pull her away from the police.
During this time, Tittle alleged that a police officer punched King in her side in front of the other protesters.
Police then transported King to the Central Police Station.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said the protestors were asked to move from where they had been protesting because the previous day, Tuesday, when the supervisor of elections was leaving her office, she was assaulted, threatened and intimidated by a person or persons who came off the protest line.
Gonsalves said he was also advised that one of the protesters sprayed the opposition party’s acronym “N D P” on the external wall of the electoral building.
“Now, if there is that occurrence, the police are obviously enjoined to ensure that there’s no recurrence of that and to take appropriate steps in occurrence with the law and I ask everyone again to read the Public Order Act.”
“You see the Public Order Act makes it plain that you can’t have a public meeting within 200 yards of the courthouse building, house of assembly building, within specific hours, or within 200 yards of … the head office of our ministries,” he said.
The Prime Minister stated that the Financial Complex is within 200 yards of the protest “and the police naturally said you can’t stay here because the supervisor of elections was intimidated yesterday and people were behaving in a manner which is unruly.”
Gonsalves said that the police have the authority to disperse individuals and to ask them to move elsewhere “that is under the Public Order Act.”
“Now as I say the police have been over the years, firm and sensitive, but people who are engaging in protest must know that when the boundaries are crossed and the police decide to be firm that you must follow the police instructions otherwise you, of course will decide voluntarily that you will pay the price of the law.”(AS) (please see also pg 22)