Gambia charges six women for protesting trial of opposition figures

May 14, 2016 22:15

 Gambia has charged six women with offenses including rioting, unlawful assembly and inciting violence for demonstrating against the prosecution of dozens of opposition activists, a defense lawyer and court official said on Saturday.

Police arrested the women on May 9 outside a courthouse in the capital Banjul where about 45 members of the main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) were standing trial for staging protests against President Yahya Jammeh.

The demonstrations are a rare act of defiance in Gambia, where Jammeh has dealt swiftly and severely with dissent since seizing power in a 1994 coup.

This week's demonstration involved many women, some of whom carried cooking spoons -- a traditional symbol of protest in the West African nation.

UDP officials say 25 of their members were arrested outside the courthouse. It was not clear whether the other 19 protesters remained in custody or if they would face charges.

The six women were due to appear in court on Monday.

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