Mackenzie-Wismar bridge cleared of protesters, debris

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 August 2021, 7:20 by Denis Chabrol

The Mackenzie-Wismar Bridge was  Wednesday night cleared of anti-vaccination protesters and debris overnight.

Police say traffic is flowing freely, a day after the protesters blocked that major thoroughfare across the Demerara River to vent their frustration at demands for them to be vaccinated.

The latest COVID-19 measures require Guyanese to  be fully vaccinated before they can go to work or access government services.

Divisional Commander Hugh Winter says the bridge was cleared shortly after 10:30 Wednesday night.

He says police did not fire teargas or rubber bullets to remove those who were present but those gathered were encouraged to move by A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC)  parliamentarian Jermaine Figueira and Pastor London.

It is unclear what is the next move as the Regional Democratic Council of Region 10, in a statement, says it stands in solidarity with residents of Linden and Region 10 as they reject attempts to enforce mandatory vaccination.

The Regional Council says the denial of basic services guaranteed to all Guyanese, including the right to access to basic medical services, is aimed at forcing Guyanese to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

In Linden, doctors, nurses and administrative and other unvaccinated staff of the Linden Hospital Complex were prevented from entering their place of employment for a second consecutive day.

The region has seen widespread hesitancy to receive a COVID vaccine and has the lowest percentage vaccine with less than 19 percent of persons in the region vaccinated.

The Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony has since given healthcare workers and public transportation workers two weeks -until August 25- to get vaccinated.