Surinamese President Chan Santokhi has announced in a video message that part of the measures that were imposed after last Friday’s riots will be lifted. According to him, normal life is intended to start again from Monday. Santokhi did not say whether the National Assembly, which was stormed by protesters, will reopen.
The president addressed the Surinamese people together with vice president Ronnie Brunswijk. As far as the president is concerned, the country’s economy should be “normalized as soon as possible”.
This means, among other things, that shops, markets and petrol stations will reopen from today “so that the community can buy goods again and that people can go back to work”. Also, “fuel must be supplied to normal again” and public transport must start running again. Schools will open again from Tuesday, reports Starnieuws.
Security will remain on the street, Santokhi said. “More police will be there, supported by the army.” The president says he understands that there are feelings of fear in society, which is why the army has been deployed, according to him.
According to Santokhi, the decision to lift the restrictive measures was taken in consultation with all parties involved. He says he will enter into dialogue with various interest groups in the near future, “so that there will be relief in our society again”.
Youth and parents addressed
Vice President Brunswijk also took the floor. He mainly addressed the youth and parents. If things get out of hand, the youth in particular will suffer, he said. “We don’t want to lose anyone. It’s about our people and we don’t want these things to happen to us.” Brunswijk appealed to parents to keep their children from looting. “The president and I want society to continue to live in peace.”
Riots broke out in the capital Paramaribo last Friday. That happened after a peaceful anti-government protest got out of hand. Protesters broke into the parliament building, threw stones and destroyed the building’s entrance hall. Shops were also looted. Police fired tear gas and blanks to disperse the crowd.
It remained quiet in Paramaribo for the rest of the weekend. The leader of the protest, Stephano Biervliet, has reported to the police station in Paramaribo. He says he had nothing to do with the disturbances.
In total, more than a hundred people have been arrested, says the president. He says that everything is being done to track down other suspects and to hold them accountable.
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