Trinidad: University students released on bail (update)

By CMC

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(CMC) – Two students from the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) were released on TT$5,000 (One TT dollar=US$0.16 cents) bail each, after they appeared in court Friday on several charged following a demonstration by students on Thursday.

The students, Nathaniel John and Brian Richards, who are due to re-appear in court on November 16, have been charged with resisting arrest, assault and disorderly conduct.

They were among hundreds of students who were protesting the alleged attempted rape of a female student earlier this week.

The UWI said initial investigations had indicated that there was no evidence of an attempted rape of a female student but at a Students Guild meeting on Thursday, the students took to blocking the entrance of the university and calling on the authorities to outline the plans for their security.

President of the Students Guild, Darrion Narine said the police used excessive force in breaking up the demonstration and likened the situation to police brutality.

He said if such police force was used on students what would be the consequences for persons in “marginalised communities.

“We have to start addressing this as a nation with regards to police brutality,” he said.

But Police Commissioner Gary Griffth dismissed the allegation saying the police responded to what was unfolding at the institution because the students were breaking the law.

“The police cannot win when nothing is done, they say the police are not doing anything, then when we enforce the law people talk. You can’t be hypocritical because ….I will deal with it …in any community I will act in the same way.

“But let us not say because these are university students, I am hearing these are wrong people. These are 23 year old hard back men breaking the law because you have a concern. This is unacceptable and people are trying to condone this by saying you have to understand, you need to be flexible. That is not in my dictionary.

“Do not break the law on my watch,’ Griffith said.

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