Police detain Benschop during protest over Agricola killing
June 12, 2001
Controversial television talk show host Mark Benschop was arrested by the police yesterday during a protest staged by some residents of Agricola over the killing of a man from their neighbourhood.
The protesters were making their way down to the Guyana Human Rights Association on Hadfield Street to lodge their complaints over the manner in which Sean Hope was killed by the police on Saturday.
Some of the protesters said Benschop was taken to the Providence police station and they made their way there to take up positions outside.
When Stabroek News arrived there, a group of policemen were seen inside the compound but there was no sign of Benschop.
The gate to the station was padlocked.
One of the protesters, Onika Primo of Titus Street, Agricola, said a group of about thirty persons was walking at the side of the East Bank Demerara public road at around 15:00 hrs when the incident occurred.
According to her, a police vehicle pulled up next to them as they were approaching the Mc Doom gas station and ordered them to desist from talking.
Immediately after that they were ordered to stop walking.
Primo said Benschop was in front of the marchers initially but when the police broke up the group he stopped.
She said Benschop was attempting to catch transportation to leave the area when the police held him. Persons in the crowd, mostly women, attempted to protect Benschop but were jostled by the policemen, she stated.
When he was spirited away in the direction of Providence, a small group of the protesters followed shortly afterwards but did not see Benschop.
Loucretia Matthews, the mother of Hope's two children, was one of the protesters waiting outside the Providence police station.
Matthews said the police treated Benschop roughly when they arrested him.
She recalled seeing them burst open his shirt as they placed him in their vehicle. The group in front of the station said they were not moving until Benschop came out of the station compound. But a short while later, another talk show host, Ronald Waddell, arrived and spoke with them and they went away.
On Sunday night old tyres and other debris were burnt on the main road entering Agricola.
Earlier Sunday, placard-bearing protesters took to the streets in their neighbourhood but were hastily removed by the police.
Hope was killed in his home the same day Colin Cumberbatch was gunned down by the police at his 31 Gordon Street, Kitty, residence.
The police said the two were wanted in connection with a series of robberies. One of them was also said to be wanted in connection with an incident where a police constable was shot and killed on Saturday morning.