UN concerned about violent protests in Suriname
GUTERRES... freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are fundamental human rights that must be respected at all times, but protests must be carried out without resorting to violence

UNITED NATIONS (CMC) — United Nations Secretary General António Guterres says he is "concerned" about the violent protests that occurred in Suriname last Friday, when more than 140 people were detained after protesters stormed the National Assembly and private businesses were looted and damaged, and several people injured.

"The secretary general stresses that freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are fundamental human rights that must be respected at all times but protests must be carried out without resorting to violence," according to a brief statement issued by Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN secretary gneral.

"The secretary general urges all relevant actors in Suriname to show restraint and engage in inclusive dialogue to address constructively the challenges facing the country," the statement added.

Over the weekend the United States and the Caribbean Community (Caricom) condemned the attack on Suriname's Parliament, with Washington saying while it supports the right to peaceful protest and respect for the rule of law, it "remains committed to helping Suriname strengthen its democratic institutions".

In a statement issued following the 44th summit in The Bahamas, Caricom said it reaffirms its support for the democratically elected government in the Dutch-speaking Caricom country under the leadership of President Chandrikapersad Santokhi, and "strongly condemned the violent attacks on people as well as private and public facilities, including the Parliament".

"Caricom stands in solidarity with all law-abiding citizens of Suriname and urges all concerned to make every effort to maintain public safety. All efforts must be made to restore calm as a matter of urgency."

President Santokhi warned that his Government would not tolerate any indiscipline, after police used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators who gathered outside the Parliament building demanding his Administration reverse its policies that have led to the removal of subsidies on a number of items, including fuel.

Justice and Police Minister Kenneth Amoksi told a news conference on Sunday night that more than 140 people had been arrested for their involvement in the vandalism and looting that occurred last Friday.

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