A collective group identifying itself as Lawyers in Search of Democracy (LINSOD) has voiced concerns that the Ghana Police Service is displaying a disregard for the law under the government of President Akufo-Addo.
These concerns have arisen in light of the recent actions of the police, who arrived on a bus to apprehend a group known as Democracy Hub, participants in the #OccupyJulorbiHouse protest that took place on Thursday, September 21, 2023.
The police had previously submitted a court application and successfully served the organizers of a group identifying itself as Democracy Hub, in relation to a planned demonstration scheduled to occur near the Jubilee House from Thursday, September 21st, to Saturday, September 23rd, 2023.
However, upon observing the demonstrators assembling near the 37 transport stations in Accra on Thursday morning, the police proceeded to arrest approximately 50 members of the group.
In response, LINSOD released a statement asserting that the police’s interpretation, whereby the mere service of an application for an injunction on the demonstrators serves as a barrier for the demonstrators to proceed with their planned protest, is not a well-established legal principle. The statement further noted that similar actions, involving the service of an injunction, have been complied with by institutions such as the Electoral Commission of Ghana.
“EC is carrying out a limited registration of voters currently, notwithstanding that the Commission has been served with applications for an injunction on the exercise and another one for contempt for ignoring the injunction application.
“It is important to state that even if the service of the application for injunction serves as a bar on the intended demonstration, or if the injunction had even been granted and yet the demonstrators ignored all of that to proceed on the demonstration, the appropriate action against them should be contempt proceedings against them in court, but not arrest and detention by the police.
“The conduct of the police in this matter and many similar ones give resemblance to a police state in Ghana. It is lawless conduct to appease President Nana Akufo-Addo, whose administration, though democratic on paper, has largely been autocratic in practice. The conduct of the police is an affront to our democracy of many years, and it is a shame. Ironically, while our President is at the United Nations demanding for more democracy within the UN, the police in Ghana is abusing the rights of citizens and eroding our democratic credentials,” President of LINSOD Eric Delanyo Alifo, Esq. stated.