3 May 2018

Mauritius: Tense May Day at Pomponette beach

What started as a pacific civic gathering at Pomponette beach on May Day by the collective Aret Kokin Nu Laplaz (AKNL), the political party Rezistans ek Alternativ and the General Workers Federation turned into a tense situation.

Three hundred and fifty people attended the gathering. Tensions flared following the arrest of a young activist resulting from the taking down of the barriers delimiting the resort project by developer Clear Ocean Hotel and Resorts Ltd. A sit-in by fellow protesters however forced the police to release the young protester.

A declaration, known as the 'Pomponette Declaration', was also adopted during the event. The declaration mentions, amongst other things, the need for a freezing of the construction of hotels to "shed light on licenses obtained in dodgy conditions". The setting up of a Coastal Land and Tourism Audit Commission with the aim to "review the tourism development model" also features in the declaration. Besides, AKNL accuses the developer of illegally setting up barriers on the pas géométriques, the strip of land between the sea and the High Water Mark. In the same vein, the promoter's lease has expired since November 2017 according to AKNL.

On Wednesday morning, the police attempted to arrest Yan Hookoomsing , spokesperson of AKNL. When asked by the police officers to follow them to the police station, Hookoomsing promptly objected, arguing that he would do so in the presence of his lawyer. Hookoomsing eventually called at the Chemin Grenier police station on Wednesday afternoon in the company of other activists like Carina Gounden, Kugan Parapen and Stephane Gua.

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