Police Cripple ‘Occupy Jubilee House’ Demo
…Slated For Dec. 1 To 31
While at it, the police also want the organizers to change the location of the demonstration, which is originally planned to take place at the seat of government, Jubilee House, at Kanda in Accra.
But the organizers of the protest march say their plan to demonstrate in the whole of December cannot be thwarted by the police, who say they cannot be available to provide protection “due to administrative and operation constraints.”
The group, had wanted the demonstration staged from the first day of December all the way to the Christmas period, to drum home their demand for a better Ghana.
But the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr George Akuffo Dampare, few weeks during a meeting with the Creative Arts industry players, indicated it was becoming difficult for his outfit to go by the wishes of the group because of the timing of the protest.
He also disclosed a similar request by another group to also stage another demonstration at the same period in defence of government.
The brief letter from the Greater Region police headquarters is a direct response to the pressure group, seeking the meeting with the police on the impending protest.
Earlier, Democracy Hub said it had written to the police, as the public order act demands, to inform them of the protest and a possible meeting on the modalities of the protest.
The police on the other hand in the letter dated November 10, 2023, addressed to the Director & Associate Programming Officer for #FixtheCountry alias Democracy Hub, said it is unable to grant them their wish.
The letter signed by Superintendent of Police, Isaac N. K. Yeboah, said “The Accra Regional Police Command acknowledges receipt of your letter dated 08/11/2023 which was received on 09/11/2023 on the above subject matter.
The Command is unable to honour your request for a meeting due to administrative and operational constraints.
However, the Command in the interest of public defence, public under, public safety among others reiterates its stance as contained in letter NoARHQ/VOL. 21/76 dated 06/11/2023 requesting for postponement and relocation of the intended demonstration.”
Meanwhile, Democracy Hub says even though they have received the response from the police, they are unfazed. They say, they will still organize the protest with or without the involvement of the police beginning December 1 to 31.
According to the group, led by private legal practitioner and social commentator Oliver Barker-Vormawor, the police is deliberately making this argument because of a similar request by the group
“The Ghana Police Service has written to refuse our request to have a meeting them to discuss #OccupyJulorbiHouse 2.0
“They continue to insist that because of the desire to celebrate Christmas, we cannot hold a demonstration until next year
“We want to inform the General Public that, #OccupyJulorbiHouse 2.0 will happen live and coloured, with or without police presence,” Oliver said, while sharing the police letter on his Facebook page.
The group followed with a long statement, indicating their readiness to go ahead with the protest claiming the police are reluctant because of the rival group, led by the former Bono Regional chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwame Baffoe aka Abronye DC.
The statement read, “In their letter, the Ghana Police Service expressed an inability to provide protection to the protestors during the Christmas and New Year Festivities, citing their intentional lumping up of well-meaning citizens protesting about the continued hardships in our motherland and the need for constitutional reform now, with well-known party actors of the ruling government. One of which is represented by a known member of the flagbearer of the ruling NPP. This is to create a false impression that the groups are joint. Further, they demanded that we reschedule #OccupyJulorbiHouse to any day after January 5th, 2024, using these two same politically motivated groups as a basis”.
It continued “The letter of the Police Service comes more than 1 month after we formally notified them of the upcoming protest; when no other group had, and after several demands and follow up communication with the Police for a response.
“In response to their letter. Democracy Hub acknowledges the letter from the Ghana Police Service but firmly reminded the Ghana Police Service that the presence of law enforcement is not required for peaceful demonstrations in Ghana. In fact, we think the police should be focused on stopping illegal galamseyers rather than peaceful protesters. We further reminded the Ghana Police Service that their statutory obligation to provide traffic support during a demonstration cannot be used to deny the right to protest, no matter how important they consider their attachment to celebrating Christmas while Ghanaians suffer across the country.
“Democracy Hub remains committed to the democratic right of citizens to voice their concerns. Therefore, we wish to inform the public that the #OccupyJulorbiHouse 2.0 protest will proceed as planned on the initially scheduled dates, from 1st to 31stDecember. We the citizens will not relent until a new fit-for-purpose constitution is in place to safeguard our democracy from corruption”.
The Anchor has gathered the group has been doing some public engagements with the public in a way to whipping up interest of the general public for the protest. Last Sunday and yesterday, they were stationed at the Obra Spot.
If the two parties do not change their stance, it is likely that the police and the group may clash once again, just as it occurred during their first protest at the 37 Lorry Station few months ago where a number of them were arrested.
Below are the two statements