(JollofNews) – The Gambia’s Interior minister, Mai Ahmad Fatty, has described Friday’s protest in Kanilai by residents of Foni against the heavy military presence in their community as an act of provocation.

In a televised address to the nation on Saturday, Mr Fatty said the protesters from ‘villages in Foni and border villages inside Casamance’ were armed with traditional weapons and had engaged in provocative act against members of the security forces in the area, and made some demands and one of which was removal of security personnel from the Kanilai area.

He added that the protesters had failed to secure a permit from the Inspector General of Police to organise their protest contrary to the laws of the Gambia and had set fire to tyres, obstructed traffic and  caused commotion in the area.

Mr Fatty said while the government will continue to respect and protect the right to peaceful and democratic protest, it will not accept any form of violent protest.

“Enough is enough. You either abide by the law or you will be consumed by the law.  No community will violate the law and get away with it,” the minister warned.

He vowed to come down heavily on those responsible for the violence adding: “As I am speaking to you, about 22 people have been arrested. Some have fled the village. The village alkalo (village head) of Kanilai is in hiding because the travesty of law was committed. If you protest outside the law, you will be contained by the law.”