War in Salisbury
Police and villagers engage in violent clashes for the second time
The Salisbury saga continued when villagers blocked the Edward Oliver LeBlanc Highway at several locations on Thursday June 11, 2015 one month after their first protest action.
Salisbury residents rioted when the police arrived early that morning and arrested five individuals who were allegedly involved in the first protest. Among those arrested was the brother of the Parliamentary Representative of Salisbury Hector John.
When the Sun's reporter arrived on the scene at mid-morning on Thursday the situation appeared calm; however, when members of the press wanted to record the riot and ventured passed the Salisbury Catholic Church they too were attacked by the villagers who were gathered upon the hill overlooking the highway.
As a contingent of well-armed police officers made their way on the scene villagers who were gathered on the hill pelted boulders, scraps of iron, and other projectiles at the police.
As the officers, who were marching towards the first road blockage, armed with an excavator, began clearing the debris they were attacked by angry villagers who were looking down on them from the hill.
The police then fired several rounds of tear gas towards their attackers but that response did not appear to intimidate villagers as they continued showering the police with missiles. The police officers continued firing tear gas into the village.
Members of the press who were on the scene soon became the enemy as well. Whilst a few took refuge in a nearby house others were attacked by the villagers who left the top of the village and ran down towards the on-lookers and police officers.
The latest protest and riot in Salisbury came a month after the villagers blocked roads in the village to protest the poor condition of feeder roads. During the first protest, the police discharged tear gas canisters to disperse the crowd in a siege that lasted more than twelve hours.
Meantime, Political Leader of the opposition United Workers Party Lennox Linton at a hastily arranged "Salisbury Solidarity" public meeting on Independence Street in Roseau that same day announced that the five individuals who were arrested had been released on bail.
The individuals are: Peter Vanty Vidal, Christina Eusebe, Gilbert Frederick, Alex Howe, Keith Bougoneau and Hilary John.
"They stand as our Salisbury heroes, it takes a lot of strength and lots of courage to stand up to police brutality," Linton said.
He said the individuals were charged with, "Riotously and tumultuously assembly to the disturbance of the public contrary to the provisions of Section 4, Chapter 2 of the Revised Laws of Dominica 1990."
Linton added that the charges should be withdrawn; the villagers are to return to court on June 16, 2015.