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Police ready to manage anticipated protests

The Bermuda Police Service will send officers to manage anticipated protests outside of the House of Assembly on Friday.

And the service has warned the public that while peaceful protest of the airport project will be allowed, it is a criminal offence to obstruct or prevent access to the House of Assembly.

In a statement this afternoon, a police spokesman said: “The police have a duty to assist those who wish to exercise their rights to participate in peaceful and lawful protest.

“Such protest activity must not use, advocate, or incite violence, and it must not break any laws. The police also have a duty to protect the Rule of Law, by ensuring that protesters do not obstruct the rights and responsibilities of other people.

“To help achieve this balance, the BPS has established a policing plan to manage protests at the House of Assembly.”

According to the spokesman, barriers will be in place on Parliament Street to allow traffic in one lane and protesters in the other.

“If more space is required, Reid Street will be closed between the junctions of Court Street and Parliament Street,” he said. “The police will consider other road closures, if the need arises, based on the actual numbers that might be in attendance on the day.

“The gate on Parliament Street must remain clear and unobstructed, at all times. No access will be granted into the grounds of the House of Assembly, other than to attend the public gallery. Due to limited seating, a maximum of 37 people are permitted to occupy the public gallery at any one time.

“The public is also reminded that it is a criminal offence to obstruct or prevent access through the gates of the House of Assembly, to interfere with the free exercise of any Member of Parliament or senator or the lawful activity of the House of Assembly, to obstruct or assault police officers in the execution of their duties, or to participate in a public procession without a permit from the Deputy Governor's office.”

The statement comes days before Parliament is set to debate legislation linked to the controversial airport redevelopment project.

The legislation was originally set to be debated in December, however protesters blocked access to the House of Assembly grounds. The sitting was eventually cancelled after there was a heated clash between police and protesters in which pepper spray was used on the demonstrators.

Police putting on extra security around the House of Assembly last Friday (Photograph David Skinner)

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Published February 08, 2017 at 5:10 pm (Updated February 08, 2017 at 5:10 pm)

Police ready to manage anticipated protests

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