Report of the Duffus Commission of Inquiry into the Breakdown of Law & Order, and Police Brutality in Grenada

Part IV

Events Subsequent to November 18, 1973

Paragraphs 141 thru 142. - Marches and Demonstrations

141. On January 9, Marches and demonstrations commenced in the town of St. George's. These demonstrations were organized and spearheaded by the Grenada Seamen and Waterfront Workers Union and the Commercial and Industrial Workers Union. Mr. Eric Pierre, who gave evidence before us, is the secretary of the former union and the President of the latter union. The administrative headquarters of these two unions was located at Otway House on the Carenage in St. George's.

Both unions were members of the Organisation of 22. The marches and demonstration were held almost daily and the evidence indicates that the crowd taking part increased in size until Saturday, January 19, when Mr. Pierre estimates that the number of persons taking part was in the vicinity of 20,000 to 25,000 persons, including women and children.

It appears that the demonstrations were peaceful. The marchers sang songs which were directed against Mr. Gairy personally and the Government. Mr. Pierre stated that the acting Commissioner of Police telephoned to him each day to enquire whether any marches were to be held on that day and the Commissioner was then informed of the route to be taken. The Marchers were always followed by one or two policemen with walkie-talkie radios. The routes were not policed but on one occasion when the marchers were proceeding to the Premier's residence at Mount Royal they were stopped by armed police.

142. At the close of the demonstration on the19th Mr. Pierre announced to the demonstrators that it was intended to have another demonstration on Monday the 21st. He informed Assistant Superintendent Adonis Francis and two other detectives what route the marchers would take. The information was given to the police officers in Mr. Pierre's office on the 19th.

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