Curfew, arrests and closed shops in Paramaribo after storming parliament building

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Demonstrators at the Surinamese parliament building
NOS News

The Surinamese police arrested at least fifty demonstrators during yesterday’s riots in the capital Paramaribo. Twenty people were injured in the storming of the parliament building and other disturbances, authorities say.

The riots started after an anti-government protest in the morning that attracted thousands of people. The organizers of the demonstration are said to have lost control of the crowd. The lobby of the parliament building was destroyed and windows were broken. Police fired tear gas and blanks to disperse the crowd.

Curfew and looting

Shop windows were smashed in other places in the city. A gas station was also looted. In response, the government of President Santhoki announced a curfew: the center of Paramaribo is closed until 10 a.m. Dutch time. The police are asking everyone to stay indoors. Shops and markets will remain closed today.

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  • AFP
    Demonstrators in front of the Assembly Building, which houses the Parliament of Suriname
  • AP
    Protesters on Independence Square
  • AP
    The storming of the parliament building

Several political parties have condemned the riots. “Our beloved Suriname has no interest in unrest,” says the General Liberation and Development Party ABOP. The Progressive Reform Party wants tough measures against looters and the National Democratic Party expresses “deep condolences to the injured and affected entrepreneurs”.

Parliament President Marinus Bree says in response to the violence that “populating the streets mutinously and murderously does not ensure that the Surinamese economy becomes healthy”. He calls on people who disagree with the government to “express their displeasure in a civilized way from now on”. President Santhoki yesterday called the disturbances “far and far outside the rules of the democratic game” and “a serious breach of the democratic order”.

Journalists attacked

The demonstrators believe that President Santokhi and Vice President Brunswijk are not keeping their election promises and demand their departure. From his predecessor Bouterse, the president inherited an empty state treasury, a sky-high debt and a deep-rooted corruption problem.

In addition, there is high inflation and increased prices for fuel, gas bottles and food, among other things. In addition, there is anger because Santokhi has appointed relatives to several important positions.

During the riots, journalists have been threatened and attacked. For example, the car of an editor of Starnieuws was set on fire when he reported live at the parliament building and the telephone of another journalist was stolen.

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