Western diplomats urge talks over Linden crisis; US embassy staff prohibited from Linden

Western diplomats urge talks over Linden crisis; US embassy staff prohibited from Linden

Written by Denis Scott Chabrol Demerara Waves
Thursday, 19 July 2012 14:40
As unrest continued in Linden against a steep hike in electricity rates, three Western Nations on Thursday appealed for calm with at least one of the diplomatic missions banning its staff to travel to Linden.
“We appeal to all parties and stakeholders to work together in a spirit of national unity to prevent any further violence and to resolve current tensions through an open and inclusive dialogue,” the Canadian, British and American diplomatic representatives said in brief statement.   

They expressed their “profound regret” at the tragic loss of life that took place July 18th in Linden. “We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives or suffered injury.”

Three persons were killed when police opened fire on protesters opposed to the increase in electricity tariffs from July 1. Police said they were forced to fire pellets into the crowd because many of them were robbing persons and burning vehicles.

After the clash, the Region 10 headquarters of the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) and the Linmine General Office were burnt down by angry residents. They blocked and stoned fire tenders from getting close to the blaze.

The joint statement by the three Western Nations’ diplomatic representatives came even as police and soldiers were patrolling parts of Linden where residents were burning debris to block off some streets.
At the same time, the United States embassy in an internal memo told staff to stay away from Linden, the scene of “violent protests,” and be careful when moving about in Georgetown where there are “ongoing protests.”

“Regional Security Officer (RSO) advises to limit your exposure in and around Georgetown to necessary travel. Travel toLinden is prohibited until further notice,” states the document.

The RSO also advised embassy personnel to avoid large gatherings of people and be aware of traffic delays and increased pedestrian presence in potential problem areas as listed above.

“This list of areas is not comprehensive and caution should be used in all areas,” the RSO added.
Radios and cellular phones must be fully charged, vehicles fuelled before nightfall and vehicles and homes stocked with the necessary emergency supplies.

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