They belong to a group called “The Cry of Exclusion,” and had planned to stage demonstrations for the three-day Summit of the Americas, which begins in tomorrow. Cry of Exclusion is based in Puerto Rico.
Spokesman for Cry of Exclusion, Hilda Gouverra, yesterday told Newsday in an interview from her offices in Puerto Rico, the protestors planned to voice their concern over social ills in their countries, such as poverty, unemployment and child prostitution.
Gouverra said she considered the detention an “illegal arrest” and will contact her organisation’s lawyers to seek the interests of the six detainees.
Immigration sources said late yesterday the protestors, four men and two women, were detained because they were deemed a security threat for the summit. The officials said they have the option of having the detainees returned to their countries.
They said the detainees made it clear they are professional protestors and have no intention of returning to their countries until they voice their concerns, via protests during the summit.
Acting Commissioner of Police James Philbert confirmed the detention of the six Latin Americans and also disclosed he had turned down a second application from local trade union FITUN for permission to stage a protest for social justice in Port-of-Spain on Saturday.
“We must be careful that outsiders may come here and it is not the duty of the persons who have applied to ensure other persons do not join them and create havoc. And in the best interest of national security, that is the reason why I have made my decision,” the top cop said.
On April 9, Philbert blanked FITUN’s first request as well as the applications of Rawle Raphael and Keston Boodram who also wanted to stage protests this weekend.