Alleged protest organisers plead not guilty, first witness takes the stand

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The trial has finally begun for two women charged with organising the infamous ‘Freedom Fighters’ protest last August.

Donette Simon of Tindale Road and Shenel Williams of Villa were among several persons arrested after a demonstration against Covid-related rules on August 8 2021 during which police used tear-gas and fired rubber bullets.

The women are jointly accused of “organising a prohibited public meeting” and participating in said event.

Williams is also facing two charges in relation to incitement and encouraging unlawful behaviour.

After more than six months of waiting for the police file, the women finally entered pleas.

They denied each of the charges and the trial began immediately before Magistrate Conliffe Clarke in the St John’s Magistrates’ Court.

Assistant Superintendent of Police Arthur Edwards was the first and only person to take the stand yesterday.

He began his testimony by indicating that he was privy to a letter where “anti-vaccination persons” were denied permission to march as they requested.

The officer said that on the day of said gathering he and other officers went to the location near the VC Bird bust in St John’s where there was a small group present at the time, who were informed that they were not permitted to march.

He said that as the crowd grew in size, the defendants arrived.

The crowd continued to defy the police’s instructions to disperse and even chanted “arwe nah move from yah” along with other remarks, the witness said.

“Williams was the one inciting defiance of our instructions,” Edwards added.

He said that Simon was also chanting.

According to the senior law enforcement official, the gathering grew to about 400 to 500 persons, such that traffic was blocked.

When the riot team arrived, they made announcements and displayed a banner instructing the group to disperse or be teargassed but the group continued to advance and became even more aggressive, the court heard.

The police were forced to disperse the crowd with teargas and it was after that they noticed several fires had been lit and missiles were thrown.

In cross examination, Symister showed the witness the aforementioned letter from the police commissioner and asked, “does it not only deal with marches?”

And the witness agreed.

He was then asked if the group were observed marching on that day and Edwards said no.

The lawyer then suggested that the group did not march or picket and therefore did not violate the instructions in the letter.

“To prevent the march, we have to prevent the assembly,” Edwards responded.

He also claimed that Williams led on the people by standing in the midst of the crowd and saying “are nah move from yah”.

But he admitted that he didn’t hear Williams say anything to suggest that people throw missiles or damage property.

Under re-examination Edwards was asked to revisit the letter and was able to clarify that the letter actually prohibited any gathering and not just a march.

The matter was then adjourned until April 28. SOURCE: OBSERVER NEWSCO.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. The crowd of protesters were just shooting WORDS.
    The police were shooting ‘rubber’ bullets and riot gas!

    Since when don’t the people have the right to protest government policies?
    People SHOULDN’T need to ask permission from government to express themselves.
    The GOVERNMENT works for the people… not the other way around.

    Donette Simon of Tindale Road and Shenel Williams of Villa should be considered Antiguan HEROS. They found the courage within themselves to stand up against official lies being spewed out by the government. GOOD ON YOU GIRLS !!!

    • ANGEL from the dark side, you are one Trump-ite and have no understanding of anything. You just chat nonsense. You NO angel, that’s for sure.

      • Angel is an unemployed dust mite with no JOB and probably stealing the neighbor wifi since he/she can’t afford to buy one data plan #sad #broke #dusty

      • @Betty’s Hope
        I understand that you are writing words and making sentences but they are empty and without meaning. How can you possibly know what I understand?
        Do you always call things you don’t understand… nonsense?
        So, I’m from the ‘DARK SIDE” TRUMP supporter? 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
        I doubt you are capable of discerning anything spiritual.

  2. Leave these protestors alone ! Antigua is so full of shit! The justice system and courts are being plagued but these nonsensical cases and prosecutions and people have real cases in court for years and can’t get a judgment up to now.

  3. We are a country of laws. And no one is above the law. These people will find out soon I hope. And let that be a lesson for others. You break the law, you pay for that.

    • @From The Sideline…ok⁉️ Yes, “we are a country of laws. And no one is above the law.”

      Bulgahnee, please send Calypso Scorpion fu sting him to rass, ‘cause is joke he making!

      Now, before passing the grey poupon please enlighten us, as to…

      A…which Country are the gangsters taking on the IHI tapes residents of?
      B…which Country does Ambassador Boustany represents?
      C…which Country was John Ashe a resident of?
      D…which Country is now the overrun by Prostitution Dens, Whorehouses, Pedo-Rings even though, they’re illegal in said Country?
      E…which Country was implicated in the Gun Running Affair to Africa, in order to facilitate a Coup-de-tat?
      F…which Country facilitated the biggest Ponzi Scheme in the World?
      G…which Country harbours International fugitives on the run, by accepting their filthy lucre?

      Yep, a Country of laws which punishes you like the Ian Botha regime of South Africa, the Klu Klux Klan of America, the Palestinians etc for standing up to tyrants for their EQUAL RIGHTS.

      As, Peter Tosh said, “I don’t want no peace, I need EQUAL RIGHTS and justice.”

      Please keep your bible quotes and take them to your god, at the crossroads.

  4. Never forget. Everything Hitler did was legal at the time. If we had known how far the govt would have taken this thing many of us would/should have been on the road with them from the beginning. They may not have done everything correctly, but they saw it coming and they decided to act.

    • @Laws…
      #Stand-For-Something!
      Or……
      #Fall-For/Anything!

      Martyrs never do anything “correctly,” in the 👀 eyes of the “Laws!”

      Imagine if the Christ which the Nations worship so, so, so, highly had done everything “correctly?”
      Then, there’d be no Jesus Christ to worship as a #Martyr” today. Maybe, he should have reside in the Vatican and did everything “correctly!”
      Then there’s Martin Luther of Europe, Nelson Mandela, Vere Cornwall Bird, Martin Luther King, you get the drift.

      Many are called, few are chosen! It’s a #Revelation and a #positive vibe thing!

  5. People here don’t have the right to protest in this dictator state. Yet police allowed to shoot rubber and real bullets and tear gas.

    I will never help the corrupt police.

    Tourists, take heed about coming to visit Antigua.

    • People here have the right to be LAW ABIDING citizens. That goes for the Wilmoth Daniel STRIPPER POLE BUS 🚌 too.

      These protesters had NO PERMISSION to do what they did.

      • A time will soon arrive when the supporters of tyranny will be held culpable alone with their evil overlords and both will face the people’s justice!

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