Protestors Storm Suriname Parliament, 20 Injured

Saturday, February 18, 2023 | Tag Cloud Tags:

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

PARAMARIBO (Worthy News) – Scores of people have been detained in Suriname after demonstrators stormed the parliament building amid bloody anti-government protests in the smallest independent country on the South American continent, Worthy News monitored.

Suriname, a former colony that declared independence from the Netherlands in 1975, has seen massive demonstrations against government austerity measures, including eliminating subsidies and high inflation.

At least 50 people were detained in the capital Paramaribo in Friday’s riots, injuring some 20 people, authorities said.

As security forces tried to restore order, Caribbean Community leaders condemned the storming of the Parliament of Suriname, a fellow member country of 610,000 people.

Suriname’s President Chan Santokhi condemned the violence, but his words did little to ease tensions as many are desperate, with inflation topping 54.6 percent last year

Suriname, part of the 15-member Caribbean Community known as CARICOM, has been struggling, like other countries in the region, to control rising food costs and the ongoing fallout of the COVID-19 epidemic. “We respect every citizen’s right to protest within the confines of their constitution and the relevant laws of the country,” Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said at a closing CARICOM press conference.

“We stand in solidarity in recognizing the democratically elected government led by President Santokhi. And we do hope that all actors can respect the rule of law and respect people’s rights to move freely, and we certainly condemn the storming of the Parliament.”

Skerrit recalled similar events in Brazil and the January 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol, saying such behavior is unacceptable.

It was unclear when and if a sense of normalcy would return to troubled Suriname, which, along with the Netherlands, this year remembers the 150th anniversary of the abolition of Dutch slavery. Suriname, as a colony of the Netherlands, suffered for centuries under the slave trade.

Last year Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte apologized for the Netherlands’ role in slavery in a historic speech that critics said lacked details on financial compensation.

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