POLICE fired tear gas to disperse a crowd of approximately 300 vax mandate protesters and detained 12 of them at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain, yesterday.
Acting Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob however said no permission was granted for the march.
“People can gather in groups of ten, but if it turns into a large gathering and then a march it becomes a problem,” he told the Express after the incident. He explained that this not only violates the current public health protocols but becomes an event where permission is required.
From 10 a.m. the crowd gathered at Queen’s Park South opposite the BP Trinidad and Tobago building.
About 20 police officers were present monitoring the crowd and a mobile detention unit was parked nearby.
Two senior officers, one in plain clothes and another in uniform, said they were there to “keep the peace”.
The majority of the crowd then marched around the Savannah shouting their suspicions about the vaccines and at passing motorists telling them to resist the Government’s continued vaccine rollout, which they described as oppression.
Some motorists responded by honking their horns.
During the march, leader of the First Wave Movement Umar Abdullah was detained and placed into a police car. The march continued.
Following the march, the large crowd assembled where they started and small groups began holding court, each making claims about the vaccines and urging people to visit various websites for “the truth”.
From about noon police began asking the crowd to disperse.
The Express witnessed the officers approaching small groups, quietly asking them to leave.
“Oh gorm. Allyuh go home, nah,” one officer was heard telling a small group. Some in the crowd said they sympathised with the police.
“They only doing their jobs and we cannot fault them for that but with this protest we trying to save them life too,” one of the protesters was heard telling the crowd.
TEAR-GASSED Trinidad & Tobago Express Newspapers