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UDP to protest despite being denied permit

HeadlineUDP to protest despite being denied permit

“We don’t know how many people will come. I know I will be there, so that’s one,” said the UDP chairman, Michael Peyrefitte, to the media.

by Khaila Gentle

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Aug. 22, 2022 Despite having been denied an official permit, the United Democratic Party is planning to stage a protest on Tuesday against what it calls the failures of the current administration.

The protest will be held in front of the Shell Gas Station located on Central American Boulevard, which is owned by the Prime Minister, Hon. John Briceño, and which, according to UDP chairman Michael Peyrefitte, is a symbol of not only the high cost of fuel, but also the high cost of living in the country.

The party has made at least two attempts to obtain a permit for the protest from the Belize Police Department.A letter issued to Chairman Peyrefitte on August 18 by the Officer commanding the Eastern Division, ACP Howell Gillett, however, cites the current State of Emergency in the Southside of Belize City and other “operational priorities” as the reason the party’s permit request was denied. According to that letter, the Police Department would be unable to provide adequate security for the event. On Friday, August 19, the UDP issued a press release calling upon Belizeans to “stand up” against corruption and high cost of living.

“The United Democratic Party, the Opposition, rejects this autocratic, authoritarian move by the government to infringe upon our Constitutional right to protest this government’s failed policies which are responsible for high gas prices, high cost of living, corruption, crime, and a dramatic deterioration in the quality of life for Belizeans,” said the release.

Today, Senator Peyrefitte told the media during a press conference that the party will be attempting to protest legally, even without a permit. He also said that the protest will be a peaceful one.

“The word protest is not bad. We’re not talking about disrupting the business of that gas station. We’re not talking about disrupting the flow of traffic,” he said.

He then added that, if there is any police response during the protest, there will be no resistance, and the party plans to follow all orders from law enforcement.

While it remains to be seen how many persons will turn up to the protest, Peyrefitte says that he, for one, will be there.

“We don’t know how many people will come. I know I will be there, so that’s one,” he said.

According to Peyrefitte, the UDP is also planning on taking its protest to other parts of the country, noting that successful protests never occur in just one area.

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