- Hundreds of citizens of West African countries residing in Cape Verde yesterday morning attempted to invade the Government Palace in Praia. The manifestation, considered unlawful by the Public Order Police (POP), was the result of the murder in Praia Tuesday of a young man from Guinea-Bissau. The government is angered by the immigrants' actions and considers deportations.
Cape Verde's Minister of Internal Administration, Júlio Correia, reacted angrily to yesterday's manifestation in front of the Government Palace. Mr Correia said he failed to understand the motivation for the protest and that the executive "will not tolerate disturbances of the public order."
The murder of a Bissau-Guinean citizen Tuesday in Praia's Fazenda neighbourhood was the last straw for the citizens of other West African countries residing in the Cape Verdean capital. Citizens from Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria held a manifestation in front of the Government Palace in an attempt to speak with Prime Minister José Maria Neves and request support and protection for the immigrant community in Cape Verde, which between 2002 and 2005 saw ten of its members murdered in the archipelago.
According to a representative of the protestors from Senegal, "we want to talk to the Prime Minister and ask for more support and security. Those hailing from the west coast of Africa continue to be killed without anyone taking any measures. When one of us is beaten, the police do nothing, and if they arrest the person who did it, he always goes back to the street."
The protestors, however, neglected to communicate their intention to hold the manifestation to the proper authorities, and as a result of the melee that took place in front of the Government Palace – protestors actually stopped traffic on one of Praia's busiest avenues – the Public Order Police (POP) had to request reinforcements from the military.
In effect, the protest ended up turning into a confrontation between the police and the protestors, complete with rocks and tear gas. The confusion resulted in several arrests and broken windows.
Minister Correia found the immigrants' actions intolerable. In a public statement, he said he was stunned by the incident, given that the suspect of the murder to which the protest was a reaction had already been arrested.
Mr Correia, in declarations to Cape Verdean national radio, added that "Cape Verde is a state of law, and disrespect for authority cannot be tolerated." According to the Minister of Internal Administration, those responsible for the illegal manifestation will be brought to justice, and those who are found to be residing unlawfully in the country will be deported to their countries of origin.
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