(CMC) – United Nations (UN) Secretary General, António Guterres, says he is “concerned” about the violent protests that occurred in Suriname last Friday, where more than 100 people were detained after protestors stormed the National Assembly and private businesses looted and damaged and several people injured.
“The Secretary-General stresses that freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are fundamental human rights that must be respected at all times, but protests must be carried out without resorting to violence,” according to a brief statement issued by Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General.
“The Secretary-General urges all relevant actors in Suriname to show restraint and engage in inclusive dialogue to address constructively the challenges facing the country,” the statement added.
Over the weekend, the United States and the Caribbean Community (Caricom) condemned the attack on Suriname’s parliament with Washington saying while it supports the right to peaceful protest and respect for the rule of law, it “remains committed to helping Suriname strengthen its democratic institutions”.
In a statement issued following ist 44th summit in the Bahamas, Caricom said it reaffirms its support for the democratically elected government in the Dutch-speaking Caricom country under the leadership of President Chandrikapersad Santokhi, and “strongly condemned the violent attacks on people as well as private and public facilities including the parliament.
“Caricom stands in solidarity with all law-abiding citizens of Suriname and urges all concerned to make every effort to maintain public safety. All efforts must be made to restore calm as a matter of urgency.”
President Santokhi warned that his government would not tolerate any indiscipline after police used teargas to disperse the demonstrators, who gathered outside the Parliament building demanding his administration reverse its policies that have led to the removal of subsidies on a number of items, including fuel.