On the first anniversary of what some people call “Tear-Gas Sunday,” August 8, 2021, the United Progressive Party (UPP) is reaffirming its commitment to freedom of choice and reiterating its call for a full investigation into the incident.
On that fateful day, scores of people were tear-gassed and rubber-bulleted by the Police during a protest of the Browne Administration’s COVID-19 policies, including mandatory vaccination against the virus.
Two women, who were the purported organisers of the gathering, were arrested and charged following the peaceful picket staged by the Freedom Fighters of Antigua and Barbuda, while other residents were the victims of police brutality.
According to the UPP, “The Government’s actions on that dark day were so reckless that zero regard was given to the presence of children and the elderly; and, further, the attacks were so indiscriminate that hundreds of people who had not even attended the protest were tear-gassed in their homes.”
One year after, the UPP is again condemning, “in the strongest terms, the ALP Administration’s shameful acts of attacking peaceful protesters,” adding that all Antiguan and Barbudan citizens and residents have choices that must be respected.
Further, the UPP is calling for the immediate dropping of all charges laid against the persons who organized, or participated in, the protest action.
The Browne Administration and the Police hierarchy have never condemned the attack and use of force on innocent people. Rather,
they praised and highly commended the officers who attacked the peaceful protestors on Market Street and went as far as Lower Ottos and into the Grays-Green community throwing tear-gas and shooting.
As recently as yesterday, August 7, one media house reported that Public Safety Minister Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin has doubled down on his position that the Police’s actions were right.
Meanwhile, the UPP is again promising to pay the two months’ wages that were withheld from Government workers who exercised their freedom of choice and refused to be vaccinated during “the draconian ALP vaccine mandate.”
Reportedly, residents are planning to gather at the same spot today, Monday, in remembrance of “Black Sunday,” as some persons have dubbed the infamous incident.