A peaceful protest against Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit escalated into a riot.
Protests in Dominica’s capital city Roseau began last Thursday, and by Tuesday night had escalated into businesses being vandalized, looting, gunshots, and fires burning.
During the day, hundreds of protesters marched on the street where Skerrit’s office is housed. As night fell, a stalled truck was placed on the road and surrounded by debris and tires by the growing crowd.
Police made several attempts to clear the road, but protesters continued to create obstructions to keep it blocked. They eventually used teargas to disperse the crowd and arrested 42 men – including one with a 9mm gun.
The protesters are calling for Prime Minister Skerrit and his entire cabinet to resign, amid accusations of selling diplomatic passports to several questionable individuals – including an Iranian wanted on embezzlement charges.
Skerrit denies the claims, and said the riot was “planned, calculated, and executed” after a public meeting organized by opposition parties calling for his resignation. He also accused the leadership of the 2 opposition parties of planning to storm his office and “seize the seat of power” until their demands were met.
Referring to the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) and the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP), Skerrit said his government is being pushed by the “militant, irresponsible behavior of the leadership”.
Prime Minister Skerrit vowed that his ruling Dominica labour Party (DLP) would not be removed from office unless through the ballot box.