Hundreds of Bahamians exercised their democratic right Thursday morning, as they marched in protest against government’s new tax regime.
Many marched against the proposed hike in value-added tax (VAT), while others marched against the alleged discrimination against gaming house operators.
The protesters gathered at the Southern Recreation Grounds shortly after 8:00 a.m. with the march commencing an hour later.
It wasn’t long before the massive crow made its way over Blue Hill Road, down Bay Street and into Rawson Square. The emotional climate was high and protesters were passionate.
Many participants booed in unison, as government ministers arrived at the House of Assembly (HOA), while others cheered for opposition Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) parliamentarians as if they were heroes.
Participants told Eyewitness News that they’ve labeled the new budget as “divisive”, and a witch hunt to “deteriorate the middle class”.
It wasn’t long before the peaceful demonstration got fired up.
Angry protesters toppled barricades, which kept them on the opposite side of the Lower Chamber, and the crowd spilled onto Bay Street.
Vehicular traffic was blocked for miles.
By 1:00 p.m., the morning session of the Lower Chamber took a break and government ministers tried to duck and dodge the angry mob.
Those bold enough to actually face the crowd got the surprise of their life.
Local Government Minister Frankie Campbell was doused with water on two separate occasions.
National Security Minister Marvin Dames decided to try his luck by walking straight down Bay Street.
The crowd went wild and followed Dames for at least two blocks before he darted through a side corner to safety.
Opposition members applauded Thursday’s demonstration.