Police Minister says youths were warned before being shot
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By Pulane Chaka
Following a botched youth protest to parliament last week Friday, Minister of Police and Public Safety, ‘Mamoipone Senauoane in a statement arguing police warned the youths to disband their illegal procession before they were fired at them.
A number of the protestors were injured with minor injuries seen in pictures that went viral on social media platforms with the Hashtag #BachaShutDown.
The youths were marching to the New Parliament building located at the summit of the Mpilo hill within the Maseru City in order to hand over a petition demanding government to set up a National Youth Council, Formulate a National Youth Policy, address mounting youth unemployment, address escalating cases of gender-based violence and also ensure the youth’s concerns over the work of the National Manpower Development Secretariat are addressed.
But, Senauoana said the youths violated the Public Meetings and Procession Act of 2010 that provides that any person wishing to have a public demonstration or protest must formally request to do so in writing an application directed to the District Commissioner of Police at least 7 days beforehand.
Senauoane claimed the protesters did not make such any requisite application for a permit to hold a procession and their demonstration was not sanctioned, and as such was unlawful.
She added Lesotho is a democratic state but and protection of human rights is guaranteed but also said Lesotho is governed by laws that citizens are expected to abide by at all times.
Senauoane claimed the police officers warned protesters to disperse and also informed them they were gathering unlawfully.
However, she said the protesters refused to leave the area they were being dismissed by the police from prompting the officers to forcefully remove them and arrested 11.
The police minister said the protestors violated Section 22 of the Internal Security Act,1984 by unlawfully gathering, and Section 84 of the Penal Code Act of 2010 by disturbing the national peace.