New group wants street protest violence addressed
Guyana Chronicle
March 19, 2004

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MEMBERS of Victims of Violence, a newly formed non-governmental organization (NGO) addressing the predicament of victims of violence, says it is extremely disturbed by the incidences of violent crimes in Guyana.

To register its concern, the new grouping held a vigil outside Parliament Buildings in memory of all those who suffered at the hands of violent criminal attacks.

It lamented last Saturday's killing of a mother of four, recent robberies and the intercepting of a cache of weapons and ammunition, which it believed would have been used to hurt physically, harm and emotionally traumatize innocent people, and demanded that the plight of victims be seriously addressed, "taking into account our scars, permanent trauma and psychological harm."

In a statement, Victims of Violence said, "It is our strong conclusion, from all assessment, that these (violent crimes) are attributed to the new trend of street protest that instigates and adopt violent actions against innocent Guyanese, causing them physical harm. Also, those with criminal intentions are emboldened as a result of the constant vilification and undermining of the work of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) by some sections of our society.

"Our organization is in no way against any group which uses peaceful street protest as a means of getting across its message, but these must be done in a responsible manner to avoid any sort of endorsement of violent actions.

"We are forced to recall street protest of the past that caused chaos, disrupting the peace, sending buildings up in flames, looting and physical attacks. The trend is still with us today and the association of criminal elements with this form of protest sends citizens into a scare frenzy, depression and fear.

"The most frightening aspect of this entire picture is the painting that elevates the perpetrators to hero status and promotes victims as perpetrators of their own dilemma.

Victims of Violence says "Guyana cannot afford such flourish of lawlessness, which affects the moral fabric of our society, with the potential to overspill into our routine activities as we strive for a productive, just and compassionate society." It calls on all Guyanese to be "conscious of their actions and avoid being influenced by the activities that promote violence among us."