Governor calls for protests to be peaceful
Governor John Rankin has called for calm ahead of potentially contentious House of Assembly sessions.
Mr Rankin issued a short statement commending Commissioner of Police Michael DeSilva for revealing his security plans as Parliament prepares for its reopening tomorrow.
“I welcome yesterday's statement by the Commissioner of Police sharing the policing plan for the upcoming sessions of the House of Assembly,” Mr Rankin said in a statement.
“In accordance with Bermuda's democratic traditions it is important both that any protests are peaceful and conducted lawfully, and that the House of Assembly is able to meet and carry out its business.
“I trust that any differences of view in Bermuda can continue to be discussed and settled in a calm fashion in the interests of all of its citizens.”
The last scheduled House sitting, on December 2, sparked confrontations which saw protesters against the airport redevelopment pepper-sprayed by police officers. That matter is due for debate on Friday next week.
At a press conference yesterday, Mr DeSilva said there would be no access for members of the public to the grounds of the House tomorrow, to ensure MPs cannot be blocked from entering and to safeguard against any injury to the public. No members of the public will be permitted through any of the House gates.
Parliament Street will be restricted to one lane for traffic on the western side, between the junctions of Reid Street and Church Street. The eastern side of Parliament Street — the side closest to Sessions House — will be reserved for pedestrians.
If more space is required, Reid Street could be closed to vehicles after the 9am rush hour, between the junctions of Court Street and Parliament Street.
That would create two designated “protest areas” on Parliament Street and Reid Street. The public gallery of the House — with its maximum capacity for 37 people — will be open and anyone wanting to enter should speak to police at the Parliament Street gate.