The Ghana Police Service has denied arresting a journalist with the BBC during the botched #OccupyJulorBiHouse demonstration which took place in Accra.
According to the Police, its attention was drawn to an “erroneous” report by a section of the media that a BBC reporter and his cameraman had been arrested. The report, the Police noted, is false and should be disregarded.
“The facts are that in dispersing the illegal demonstrators, a group of them were picked up and sent to the police station. During their screening process, two persons identified themselves as journalists and were immediately allowed to go.”Ghana Police Service
While assuring the public of its commitment to work with all stakeholders in the quest to ensure security law and order, the Police urged all the other stakeholders to be “circumspect in the discharge of their responsibilities since they have implications for the image and reputation of other stakeholders”.
Following the protest, member of parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, condemned what he described as the brutalities by the Police against protestors in the organized demonstration.
He revealed that whichever way one looks at it, police brutalities, excessive brute force against unarmed civilians and “gestapo tactics” have no place in a constitutional democracy.
Mr Ablakwa further noted that violating the rights of citizens is not policing.
“I strongly condemn [the] high handedness against protesters and journalists by security operatives, particularly, on a day we commemorate the birthday of Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah — our nation’s founder who dedicated his entire life towards the elimination of all forms of injustice and subjugation.”Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
Furthermore, Mr Ablakwa stated that those brutalized and arrested should be immediately freed and granted medical care which must be borne by the state.
#OccupyJulorBiHouse protestors released
Meanwhile, a legal representative of the protesters arrested on Thursday, September 21, has confirmed that almost all of them have been released.
Lawyer for the protestors, Prince Elikplim Ganaku, confirmed that all of the protesters have been released. He stated that they were released under “quite generous” conditions.
He however disputed the police number of arrested protestors, confirming that about 56 of the protesters were arrested.
“As far as I know, they should have all been released by now”.Prince Elikplim Ganaku
Elsewhere, Communications Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Richard Ahiagbah, has expressed his displeasure with the derogatory captioning of the Jubilee House by leaders of the pressure group, Democracy Hub.
Mr Ahiagbah defended the rights of citizens to demonstrate, indicating that he disagreed with the association of the presidency to the brutalities recorded.
“I don’t agree with the derogatory caption of the Presidency by the organizers of the demonstration, but impeding their right to peaceful assembly is an affront to democracy, plain and simple.”Richard Ahiagbah
Furthermore, Mr Ahiagbah explained that during President Akufo-Addo’s presidency, there have been numerous peaceful demonstrations, including the Arise Ghana demo and the Kume Preko demo, which he noted did not record such events as happened on Thursday.
To this end, he wondered why anybody would think that the government was behind the disruption of Thursday’s demonstration.
The NPP communications director equally indicated that the interference and arrest of protestors who participated in the #OccupyJulorBiHouse demonstration by the Ghana Police Service is against the rights of the people.
Mr Ahiagbah further emphasized that “the people’s ability to engage in peaceful demonstrations is an inherent democratic right.”
According to him, any decision to obstruct citizens from exercising this fundamental right is simply unacceptable.