St. Vincent PM 'on the mend' after attack leaves him concussed

  • World
  • Saturday, 07 Aug 2021

St. Vincent and the Grenadines' Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves reacts moments after he was struck in the head by an object during COVID-19 related protests, in Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines August 5, 2021 in this screen grab obtained from a social media video. Asberth News Network via REUTERS

(Reuters) - St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said on Friday he was recovering a day after a protester threw an object at his head during an anti-vaccine rally, leaving him concussed.

The 74-year-old premier of the Caribbean country was attacked as he walked through a group of about 200 protesters to get into parliament.

"By the grace of God almighty, I'm doing well and on the mend," he wrote on social media. He said there was no sign of neurological damage, but his concussion would require weeks of monitoring.

Video footage following the attack showed a dazed Gonsalves, his white shirt turning red as blood streaked down. Security guards rushed him from the scene and he was later flown to nearby Barbados for medical care.

Thursday's protest was organized by unions representing nurses, police and other workers who fear COVID-19 vaccinations could be mandated for some employees by the government, according to reports and videos on social media.

Gonsalves had previously said that proposed changes to the nation's public health law would not include any penalties for those who refuse the COVID-19 shots.

There was no justification for the attack, he said on Friday.

"We can have our disagreements, but to cross the line into violence is unacceptable in a democratic society," he said.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a chain of 32 smaller islands in the southern Caribbean, is home to more than 110,000 people.

(Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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