TTPS lays down the law on marches, protests
By Ryan Hamilton-Davis Thursday, August 28 2014
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Fully armed and outfitted officers of the Police Guard and Emergency Branch on duty outside the Parliament Building, Tower D, International Waterfront...
Communications officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), Joanne Archie, yesterday assured the public that the role of the TTPS, when dealing with any form of demonstration is strictly crowd control.
She made the statement at the weekly police press briefing, held at Riverside Plaza in Port-of- Spain. She said the first priority of the TTPS in situations where there are protests, marches or rallies, vigils, and peaceful protest demonstrations is to preserve the peace.
“There are certain rights that are guaranteed under the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago which you all will be aware of. I want to take this opportunity to inform the members of the public that we the members of the TTPS respect those rights. Our first priority when deploying police officers to the scene of any protest is to preserve the peace and exercise crowd control. We are not there to use unnecessary force or to terrorise anyone. On the contrary, police officers are there for the protection of persons both involved in protest actions and those not involved, but are going about their lawful business,” Archie said. In her address, Archie said the TTPS is specifically instructed to be tactful and avoid confrontation. However, she said the public must be reminded that they should exercise their rights within the confines of the law.
“However, we know that citizens would be passionate about whatever the cause may be but all we are asking is that you hold passionately to your cause, because it is democracy at work, but we advise citizens to please do so within the confines of the law,” Archie continued. She highlighted laws pertaining to public marches and processions, as well as obstructing a public pathway.