The President of the West African state of the Gambia, Yahya Jammeh was Friday 27th September, hurried into a waiting car under tight security amid jeers from Gambian protestors camped in front of his hotel in New York. Some carried banners with slogans like "Jammeh must go", "Down with dictatorship", etc. President Jammeh was headed to the UN headquarters to deliver his speech to the General Assembly later that morning. He used the occasion to continue his campaign denouncing same-sex relationships describing it as the "biggest threat to humanity." But it was all chaos earlier on the morning of Friday in front of the Ritz Charlton hotel when newly appointed Gambian Ambassador to the UN Momodou Tangara, former Foreign Affairs minister, got involved in a fist fight with one Falai Baldeh, a protestor.
Falai and fellow protestors Saihou Mballow and others were at the hotel in Mid-Town Manhattan early in the morning in order to catch up with the President leaving the hotel. "While we were waiting for the President to come out we saw Batata Juwara entering the hotel. He was followed by Momodou Tangara a little later," said Mr. Mballow. "We picketed both of them when they were entering the hotel but moments later, Tangara emerged out of the hotel into the street and confronted Falai demanding why he was calling him names," added Mballow.
According to Mballow, it was during that confrontation that the two came to blows hitting each other when another protestor, Bakary Jarju, joined the fight. Tangara was seen being pulled back into the hotel and the police providing security on the ground were seen arresting Baldeh and Jarju. However, the two arrestees were eventually set free a little later when Saihou Mballow intervened on their behalf insisting that the two were peaceful and it was Tangara who started the fight. They later continued with their protest.There were no reported injuries but Falai got his shirt buttons ripped off and Tangara who was in a 'Haftan' gown, had his dress all rumpled.
President Jammeh later emerged out of the hotel on his way to the UN at a time when the protestors had increased in number amid intense booing and jeering at him. There was tight security at the time with the US secret service sealing-off the pavement in front of the hotel to allow the president into a waiting car. The determined protestors followed him to the UN and to the Gambian Mission building, where they continued their protest.