BANJUL, THE GAMBIA -- Dozens of people have been injured in The Gambia as armed police fired gunshots at peaceful opposition protesters on Monday during a scuffle at the premises of the High Court in Banjul where opposition leader Ousainou Darboe and others are standing trial.A dozen others have also been arrested during the heavy scuffle between the security and the peaceful protesters in various areas in the capital, Banjul and suburb of Serrekunda.The scuffle started when opposition members where denied access to the court by police who rounded up the court with barricade.

The opposition protesters without any option stood outside the court chanting “unconditionally release Ousainou Darboe and others, dead or alive.”

Protesters were peaceful, unarmed

The peaceful protesters were out in solidarity with the persecuted opposition United Democratic Party leader Ousainou Darboe and his entire executive who are standing trial after holding rare protests last month.Mr Darboe and his executive were arrested since April 16th in Serrekunda, during a peaceful demonstration calling for the release, dead or alive of party members who were arrested on April 14th in Westfield for demanding justice and electoral reform.

The April 14 protest was led by UDP’s Solo Sandeng who is alleged to have died during torture under state custody and the others were also detained incommunicado for weeks before been arraigned before the courts, for they were equally tortured and suffering pains and under critical condition.

Charged with conspiracy and inciting violence

Mr Darboe with at least fifty others have since been charged with unlawful assembly, conspiracy, rioting, and inciting violence and denied bail on several attempts.

They are currently detained in remand custody at the state central prison of Mile II.The UDP has since issued a statement condemning the excessive use of force against the peaceful, unarmed and defenseless protesters and alerted the international community particularly the sub-regional bloc Ecowas of the escalating political situation in the country.The UDP insist that Gambian people will remain steadfast in their fight for freedom, justice and democracy using all the lawful means available to them.

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