The National Peace Council (NPC) has conveyed its profound apprehension over the method employed by the police to apprehend peaceful protestors during Thursday’s Democracy Hub demonstration.
During an interview on Citi Prime News on Friday, September 22, George Amoh, the Executive Secretary of the National Peace Council, expressed concern, emphasizing that the arrest of peaceful demonstrators is detrimental to the country’s democratic processes.
Mr. Amoh underscored that the right to engage in peaceful protest is a fundamental human right crucial for a robust democracy.
The NPC further urged the police to exhibit restraint in their interactions with protestors.
“Every Ghanaian has a right to demonstrate, it is a right that is enshrined in the constitution that has to be protected and jealously guarded. If there is a group that wants to demonstrate in support of an activity or disagree with a particular thing, I think the laws allow for that and the authorities should ensure that such exercises are done within the remits of the law and those also exercising those rights must also respect [the law] but it is unfortunate that yesterday didn’t go that way.
“Some had to be arrested which is not too healthy for our democracy. We need to create an environment for people to protest, both the institutions of the state, the Police and the citizens,” Mr Amoh told Citi News’ Zoe Abu Baidoo.
Mr. Amoh also cautioned the protestors against taking matters into their own hands and advised them to show restraint.
He emphasized that while protestors have the right to engage in demonstrations, it is imperative that they do so peacefully and in an organized manner.
“My advice is that they cannot use lawlessness to address perceived lawlessness, so if you have not been permitted by the same arrangement that gave you the right, you would have to exercise restraint. So if there is an injunction, or your plan to go on demonstration has been curtailed by the same institution then just don’t do it because if you do it then you are also being unlawful.
“If you don’t do it tomorrow, there will be another time, so let us all respect the law for the sake of our democracy. If we allow small issues to divide us then we are opening up for insurgents who are lurking around,” Mr Amoh said.
The #OccupyJulorbiHouse demonstrations commenced on September 21, 2023, when a group of protestors assembled at the 37 bus terminal in Accra with the intention of marching to the Jubilee House, the administrative center of the Ghanaian government.
Law enforcement authorities dispersed the demonstrators and took 49 of them into custody.
Despite these setbacks, the protestors have vowed to persist in their demonstrations until the government addresses their grievances.
Ghana currently grapples with a multitude of issues, including economic hardships, escalating inflation, and a high cost of living.
The organizers of the #OccupyJulorbiHouse protest assert that their actions reflect a growing discontent with the government’s handling of these challenges.