shops and other small businesses were shut down in Brikama on Wednesday
following a protracted confrontation between the Police Intervention Unit (PIU)
anti-riot team and a group of protesters who call themselves Concern Youth.
The group, who launched a hashtag #OccupyBAC, planned to protest against the Brikama Area Council for what they called their failure to provide basic facilities like good road networks, standard markets and proper waste management and collection. They also accused the council of not properly ploughing the rates and taxes into development, manhandling of market vendors and poor drainage system.
Several people were arrested and others sustained injuries and unconsciousness as police fire tear gas, causing panic and fear.
The disrupted protest which ended with the throwing of tear gas by the PIU officers to disperse the crowd assembled around the market, forced market vendors to shut down their shops and small canteens to avoid become casualties.
President of Brikama market vendors association, Foday Manjang, said the protest forced them to the close their businesses, which, he said affected their sale.
He said he and other vendors at the market have to run for their lives to avoid tear gas, which was fired by the police to disperse the protesters. “We have to close our businesses and run for our lives because the amount of tear gas that was fired was reaching the market,” he said.
Sally Bojang, a vendor at the Brikama market, said the crowd that was running from the effects of the tear gas destroyed all of her goods. “I have nowhere to depend on as a parent with children to feed except the small sale I gain from the market. I use to sale more than 500 dalasis a day but today I could not make any sell due to the problem.