April 10 & 11: Will Justice Be Served? Editorial – Daily Observer 11/04/2017

April 10 & 11: Will Justice Be Served? Editorial – Daily Observer 11/04/2017

Editorial

Student protesters in the Greater Banjul areas yesterday did a valuable service when they took to the streets, demanding justice for students who lost their lives in 10th/11th countrywide students demonstration in 2000.


The procession brings fresh memories after 17 years, in a demonstration that left over a dozen students dead. It’s yet unclear who ordered their killings.


Yesterday, students and teachers were out in the street demanding that justice be served. This, however, marks the first anniversary since the incident took place. It all began with a march past from GTTI towards MDI road in Kanifing, towards Kairaba Avenue and ended at the Westfield Youth Monument.


It all began when Ebrima Barry, a then 19-year-old student in Brikama, was said to have insulted his teacher, one Mr. Paul and got suspended. Mr. Barry was later reported to the Fire Service Department so that he could be removed from the classroom. He was instead taken to custody where he had been maltreated, and later died at the then Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital (RVTH).


Mr. Barry’s death triggered a sporadic nationwide student demonstration, with The Gambia Students Union (GAMSU) demanding for an autopsy to be conducted on him with a view to ascertain the circumstances surrounding his death. As the demonstration progressed and was getting out of hands, a command was given for the killing, with the then government blaming some non-students for the violence. But who ordered for the killing of students? – is something students of today are demanding to know.


The government in its own defence, issued a statement, saying: “It has so far been established that 12 people died and 28 were admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital, out of which 15 are students and 13 non-students.” 


The statement added that: “There is no doubt that the crisis was incited by the Gambia Students Union (GAMSU) and aggravated by some bad elements and bandits who took advantage of the situation, disguising themselves as students and encouraging the crowd of so-called demonstrators to the damage.”

 


Today, there is no more GAMSU and all that the students want is justice, we hoped that justice will be served to the latter.