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Virus contingency plans include dealing with potential public disorder

The Gibraltar Government is alert to the potential for public disorder if lockdown measures remain in place for the long term, the Minister for Justice and Civil Contingencies, Samantha Sacramento, said on Wednesday, adding that the Royal Gibraltar Police had planned accordingly.

Asked by GBC about the potential for public disorder and civil unrest at the 4pm press conference yesterday, Ms Sacramento said: “We are expecting that at some stage, because it’s only natural that if this goes on long-term people will find it difficult.”

“It’s human nature when we are asked to do something that we’re not particularly used to doing and may not necessarily enjoy,” she said.

“The RGP have very clear civil contingency plans on this.”

Ms Sacramento explained that because unrest could manifest itself in a number of different ways, their plans also draw in Social Services and the Department for Education, with the aim initially being prevention.

“There are a lot of plans for early intervention so that this does not escalate,” she said.

“Essentially our priority would be to provide support in situations which may lead to an escalation.”

But asked later to clarify the minister’s comments, a spokesman for No.6 Convent Place said that alt-hough planning necessarily took in any worst-case eventuality, there was no concern about any significant public disorder.

“The government does not expect civil disobedience or disorder to manifest in any significant way,” the spokesman said.

The comments came as the Government said it was “disgusted” by an act of vandalism targeting the Moorish Castle lighting system.

According to the Government, the old prison was broken into and the lights and boxes tampered with, hindering the daily tribute to frontline healthcare workers.

The matter will be reported to the Royal Gibraltar Police.


Addressing the level of compliance with the lockdown measures, Ms Sacramento also told the press conference that some people were still not adhering to the protocols, including many over the age of 70.

“We’ve been in lockdown for a while now and we introduced the more stringent provisions for people who are over 70, and by now it may be seeming like an eternity for some people, but it is really important that we continue to respect these rules,” she said.

“I speak to the Commissioner of Police on a daily basis and he informs me of what is happening around Gibraltar and gives me the general picture on people’s movements and whether people are complying with the legislation or not.”

“In terms of the enforcement, their policing efforts remain under daily review… I’m glad to hear the feedback that, in general, the public as a whole are complying with this, however there are some examples of non-compliance but these are dealt with generally by tact and good humour by the officers.”

“But what’s more concerning is that he does tell me there continue to be people over the age of 70 out and about and there are a few in particular who continue to defy these regulations.”

She added: “I cannot stress enough how important it is that everyone continues to follow our public health advice because it’s for the benefit of all of us and for the benefit of our community.”

Legislation that would give the RGP powers to introduce on-the-spot fines for non-compliance with the measures has been drafted and will be enacted as a “last resort.’

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