Several Ghanaian celebrities in a powerful display of unity and solidarity have taken to social media to stand with the #OccupyJulorbiHouse protesters who gathered yesterday, September 21, 2023, outside the Jubilee House to voice their grievances concerning the country’s enduring economic challenges.
The peaceful protest, organized by the Democracy Hub, aimed to draw attention to the economic issues faced by ordinary Ghanaians. However, early into the demonstration, the Ghana Police Service detained protesters and bystanders and reportedly employed excessive force to quell the protest.
In response to these events, numerous Ghanaian celebrities and prominent figures including Sarkodie, Black Sherif, Kidi, Efya, and many others have lent their voices to the cause and expressed their concerns regarding the treatment of peaceful demonstrators.
The likes of Cina Soul, Dope Nation, Bridget Otoo, Helen Appiah-Ampofo, and Kofi Mole also joined protests alongside tweets on the happenings of the day.
Below are some of their notable tweets:
“We are Ghanaians before anything else. My topmost concern is the safety of our people. We should be able to freely exercise our right to protest. We are making efforts to help the protesters who have been detained but we’re facing some challenges on the ground. If there are any alternative means please share 020 563 7515”, KiDi shared.
“Left the UN Conference in New York City right after the president of Ghana’s presentation. I’ve never heard a figure like what he asked for from the UN. So if they carry all this money give dem, where them dey take am pass? Hand on my heart I dey tell you there’s no evidence for all the amounts of money these people dey borrow in our name. And if the people, whose struggles you document to go ask for money, want accountability, you send Koti [Police Officers] make they dey beat them? Lord knows this battle is Ours. Wanna go hear am”.Black Sherif
“Imagine crying about hardship and being made to suffer for peacefully crying out. Ridiculous!!! Where’s the democracy? We deserve better !!!”, King Promise shared.
“You can only be scared of a peaceful protest when you know you deserve otherwise…”, Sarkodie shared.
“Whether you support the arrested protesters or not you cannot deny that they have the constitutional right to assemble and freely express their grievances. Dissent after all is the hallmark of every democracy. Our right to enjoy the freedoms our constitution has bestowed on us should not be unjustly curtailed especially not by the institutions of state mandated to uphold the law!.. ‘We shall not rest until Africa is free and united under the leadership of the African people’ – Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, ‘We Have Awakened, We Will Not Sleep Anymore’ -Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah”.Stonebwoy
“Let’s remind our leaders that they work for us – the people they serve. It’s time they listen to our voices and take swift action to alleviate the hardships faced by Ghanaians. Together, we will build a Ghana that thrives and uplifts its citizens. #OccupyJulorbiHouse #OccupyJulorbiHouse !!!!!”, Efya Nocturnal shared.
A timeline of the #OccupyJulorbiHouse protest in Accra
Thursday, September 21, 2023, will go down in the annals of Ghana’s history as a day that was filled with tension, determination, and a fight for democratic rights.
Commentary on social media alleged that bystanders and even journalists were also detained alongside the protesters. The Ghana Police Service issued a statement on the arrest of 49 of the protesters.
A British Broadcasting Corporation reporter, Thomas Naadi, and his cameraman found themselves reportedly caught up in the unfolding tensions. According to initial reports from local media, they were arrested by the police while covering the demonstration.
While Thomas Naadi was subsequently released, the Ghana Police Service released a statement denying that they had arrested the BBC journalist and his cameraman during the demonstration.
The incident has garnered international attention, with media organizations and human rights groups including Amnesty International closely monitoring the situation and speaking against the arrest.
The day began with peaceful protesters gathering at the 37 Lorry Station in anticipation of a planned march towards the Jubilee House, Ghana’s seat of government.
Before the protest commenced, the Ghana Police Service issued a stern warning to the public, cautioning against participating in the demonstration. They revealed in a public statement that the protest was unlawful.
Despite the police warning, the leaders of Democracy Hub remained resolute, insisting that the protest would proceed as originally scheduled. They argued that they had not been served with the supposed application filed by the Accra Regional Command of the Ghana Police Service.
However, as protesters assembled, the police took action, arresting and detaining them. The detained protesters were taken to various police stations, including Dansoman, Sukura, and Osu Police stations. Activists online and on-ground encouraged Lawyers to provide legal assistance to the detainees.