Thirty people are expected to appear before a magistrate later this week, charged with the breach of Public Health Regulations. They were all arrested while being part of an anti-vaccine demonstration that turned chaotic at the Queen’s Park Savannah on Tuesday titled “stand your grounds and push back.”
From as early as 10 am hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Grand Stand armed with placards and megaphones as they chanted their plight.
“We have African, we have Indian, we have Chinese, we have everybody here and people saying enough is enough and we have to stand up for our country,” former UNC councillor Safraz Ali said.
Community activist Victor Roberts was also there with his “democracy is dead” titled black coffin, along with several activists like Gary Aboud and religious officials.
But their gathering was cut short after police dispersed the crowd.
ASP Michael Sooker of the Port-of-Spain Division told Guardian Media that the group did not get permission to protest.
“They could not have because we do not have a Commissioner of Police, they did apply but it was not granted,” he explained.
According to the Public Health regulations, a gathering is allowed but only in groups of up to ten. The organisers tried to separate the crowd but when that did not work, some protesters opted to walk around the Savannah.
“Vaccine nothing,” one protester shouted as they circled the savannah.
The older protesters were told to wait by the Grand Stand until the others came back, but as word of the movement got out and more people came to support crowding the area once again, police took immediate action.
“We told them this is not the way, not at this time, not in the middle of a pandemic, there are people here with children,” ASP Sooker said.
The officers held several protesters, in particular, those who they said were not cooperating with calls for the crowd to disperse.
Activist Gary Aboud was arrested, he struggled with the officers and even held onto a tree as he asked what he was being apprehended for.
Several vehicles blew their horns as they drove past the demonstration.
Protester Asha Price claimed the Government was hiding the truth about the vaccines and even though vaccination was not mandatory it should not be an option for the elderly and children.
“Dr Keith Rowley sir I don’t understand what it is you are doing to the people of Trinidad and Tobago…we represent you same Trini blood running in these veins and you’re oppressing we right down to the last,” Price said.
According to the World Health Organisation, all of the approved COVID-19 vaccines have been carefully tested and continue to be monitored. The United Nations agency said millions of people have safely received COVID-19 vaccines.
But Robert Amar said Tuesday’s protest was not only about vaccinations, he said it’s time for Trinidad and Tobago to stand up against the road the country appeared to be headed.
“The people in charge not serious…don’t tell me we can’t deal with the issues of the abuse of women in this country how much more women we must see get kill? What about the man that get assassinated yesterday (Monday) in Siparia? What we doing about that, what about the legal system?” he asked.
He said this pushback was about T&T and if they don’t get the attention they want their action will only get bigger.
“After today (Tuesday) this is going to go ten times bigger than this, if the T&T Government does not listen we will have to make them listen, the time is now the pushback has begun and the country no longer take the B-S,” he said.