Thursday 21 June, 2018

Women’s march participants say they were denied use of placards

UPDATE: Police Commissioner Severin Moncherry held a press conference earlier today in which he clarified the issue of permissions for placards at yesterday's march.

Moncherry stated that Raise Your Voice's march was approved but that when he heard that other elements would be involved he called in the group's president Catherine Sealy. The commissioner said that it was Sealy who told him that the group would not be carrying any placards but using only a single banner.

Moncherry says that Sealy told him she expected only about 25 people at the march and denied to him that other groups would be involved. He said, "the police at no point indicated to Raise Your Voices that they should not use placards."

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Yesterday’s march organized by Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia for women’s issues to mark International Women’s Day was noticeably different than other marches in the country.

Those marching, which included a large contingent from Saint Lucia Pride marching against the current government’s policies, told reporters that police instructed that placards could not be used despite receiving general permission to demonstrate and that use of placards would result in the proceedings being cut short.

Some participants voiced concerns that the decision, which they said came directly from the commissioner of police, was infringing on the rights of citizens. Others ignored the condition.

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The march was said to have taken on a more anti-government bent than a more general women’s rights effort.

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