|Kublalsingh, two supporters arrested |
By RICHARDSON DHALAI Sunday, March 16 2014
click on pic to zoom in
EnvironmentaL activist Wayne Kublalsingh pushes his head into a 'tyre of shame' hanging from a bulldozer as he tries to prevent police officers from r...
ENVIRONMENTal activist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh and two of the members of his Highway Reroute Movement (HRM) were yesterday arrested by police as they stood atop a bulldozer.
Kublalsingh, together with Ramkeran Bhagwansingh and Vandana Boodhai, were all taken to the Penal police station where they were expected to be charged yesterday with resisting arrest and obstruction of police officers in the exercise of their duties.
Reports are that a bulldozer operated by Brazillian contractor OAS, was clearing lands at Gopie Trace to conduct soil tests for passage of the Debe to Mon desir section of the highway to Point Fortin when Kublalsingh and members of his HRM, armed with flags, leading a walk in the area, were confronted by supporters of the highway.
These supporters of the highway heckled Kublalsingh and a verbal exchange ensued between the two groups. Kublalsingh led his followers towards the site and told workers conducting soil tests, that they were trespassing on private property and to take their equipment and leave the site. He then walked towards the bulldozer. While members of his group hung ‘tyres of shame” on the bulldozer, Kublalsingh climbed on its roof and shouted, “Get out OAS”, “Move the tractor”.
Another man sprayed “abeer” on the side window of the bulldozer before climbing on to it as well and shouting, “Kublalsingh, why you don’t go home. They should arrest you.”
At about 11.24 am, police vehicles arrived on the scene and heavily-armed members of the Southern Task Force walked towards the bulldozer where Kublalsingh was seated on its roof. Kublalsingh shouted, “Do not argue with the police. No one is going to get arrested today. When they come to remove us from the tractor, hold on to us and do not let us go.”
More police officers in tactical wear arrived. The opposing group began chanting mantras and offering prayers. The squad of officers, led by a woman police sergeant, then approached the group and asked them to come down from the tractor and leave the worksite. But Kublalsingh shouted, “We are not leaving until this tractor is removed from here.”
Bhagwansingh, who was sitting on the bulldozer, was lifted and taken to a police vehicle, even as other supporters attempted to hold on to him. More police officers called on another man to leave the bulldozer, but he refused and was lifted bodily and taken into the police vehicle.
Kublalsingh remained defiant and stood on the bulldozer. Four police officers then climbed on to the tractor and after a brief struggle, Kublalsingh was handcuffed and lifted off the tractor’s roof. However, while the officer were climbing down, Kublalsingh managed to poke his head into one of the tyres. That attempt was short-lived as the officers swung him around before placing him on the ground.
Boodhai then attempted to hold on to Kublalsingh and she too was arrested.
As the police vehicles drove off with Kublalsingh and the two supporters, the pro-highway group members cheered.
Kublalsingh was last arrested in October 2013 for attempting to block work from proceeding along the Mon Desir segment of the highway.