Suriname: More arrests expected after anti-government riots

PARAMARIBO, Suriname — Suriname’s government warned of more arrests and put police on high alert on Saturday, a day after a protest against President Chandrikapersad Santokhi’s policies got out of control and hundreds of demonstrators stormed parliament.

Demonstrators marched to the Parliament building on Friday to protest price increases and cuts in electricity and fuel subsidies due to the IMF program. They suppressed the police, who fired tear gas. Riots soon broke out and the assembly building was damaged.

On Saturday, police set up roadblocks, extra surveillance and checkpoints on bridges.

Justice Minister Kenneth Amoksi assessed at a press conference that 119 people were arrested and 20 were injured during the riots. More arrests are expected to follow.

“I have the pictures. It is only a matter of time before they are caught, said Amoksi

Amoksi was joined at the press conference by Police Chief Ruben Kensen, Army Commander Werner Kioe A Sen and Security Adviser Humprey Tjin Liep Shie.

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According to Kensen, the situation is under control, but increased security measures will be implemented in the coming period.

Protest leader Stephano Biervliet was asked by Amoksi to report to the police.

Biervliet was live on Facebook at the same time as the press conference. According to him, unknown armed men threatened him and held him hostage for a few moments.

“What happened was not my intention. It was a peaceful protest action taken over by malicious parties in an organized context,” Biervlied said, adding that he would report to the police.