Police Pull BrakesOn Xmas Demo ‘Rebels’
…Seek Injunction Against 3 Rival Groups Targeting Jubilee House
The protesting groups, namely Democracy Hub – the organizers of #FixtheCountry and #JubileeHouse demonstrations; Patriotic Hub – led by one Denis Appiah Larbi, as well as the Patriotic Forum for Accountable Governance – spearheaded by Kwame Baffoe, alias Abronye DC, a former Bono Regional chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), have all served notice of a showdown during this Christmas.
They have intended to stage the protest throughout the month of December, citing the same location close to the presidency, the same time, but different reasons for their actions, which, many fear, could lead to chaos, and perhaps disrupt the yuletide.
But the police, which appear overwhelmed and helpless, especially at that period when there will be lots of events, activities and visitors expected in the country, are kicking against the move.
After a security threat assessment, the police say they have reasonable grounds to believe the three special events, if allowed, at the forecourt of the seat of government, and at the given time-lines, especially around the Christmas and New Year festivities, “may endanger public safety, public defense, public order, the running and delivery of essential services and violate the rights and freedom of other persons, among others.”
While the first group has intended to demonstrate against everything that is wrong in the country and demand the resignation or impeachment of President Akufo-Addo, the Patriotic Hub wants to picket over what they say is progress made by Ghana so far, and request better living conditions for all Ghanaians.
The last group, the Patriotic Forum for Accountable Governance, was the third to inform the police of their intention to embark on a procession at the forecourt of the Jubilee House from December 1, 2023 to January 5, 2024 from 8am to 7pm each day, apparently to give thumbs-up to government.
But the security agency says, after engaging the groups and the danger their planned demonstrations could pose to the national capital, it pointed out its inability to provide security for the three groups, to hold their respective special events, expected to last for over 31 days.
According to the police, they urged the groups to reschedule the organization of the demonstration to any other day from 5 January 2024, by which time the Command will be able to provide them with adequate security.
They also advised them to change the locations and stay away from the Jubilee House.
But the advice by the police seems to have fallen on deaf ears, as they disagreed with the Police Command’s request to postpone the special events to any date after 5th January, 2024. They also disagreed with the police on the location, and insisted on holding the special events around or at the forefront of the Jubilee House.
The police,in a statement issued on the matter, said, “Considering the disagreement on the matter, and the worrisome situation of there being three different groups intending to demonstrate at the same place, within the same time-frame and having conflicting objectives, the Police Command, in the accordance with the Public Order Act, resolved to refer the matter to the appropriate institution, to settle the disagreement and provide direction to the Police as well as the various organizers.”
Subsequently, they have filed an application at the High Court on Wednesday, November 15, seeking an order to prohibit the three groups and have succeeded in serving the interested parties.
Hearing for the application is tomorrow, Tuesday, November 21, 2023.
Meanwhile, the Democracy Hub has confirmed receipt of the police application on its(‘X’) handle, previously known as Twitter.
A copy of the writ, shared by the group, reads, “Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr George Akuffo Dampare against Benjamin Akuffo Darko representing Democracy Hub, Denis Appiah Larbi for Patriotic Hub and Kwame Baffoe Abronye representing Patriotic Forum for Accountable Governance.
A further portion of the writ says: “Take Note that this Honourable Court shall be moved by Counsel for the Applicant herein praying this Honourable Court for an order prohibiting the Respondents from holding an intended protest/procession from 1st-31st December, 2023 and from 1st December, 2023-5th January, 2024 respectively, upon the grounds contained in the accompanying affidavit and for such further order (s) as this Honourable Court may deem meet.”
According to the group, despite the intervention by the police, they will go ahead with the demonstration, even though they are law abiding citizens, adding “the security agency is engaging in only equalization.”
Its post on Friday reads: “This action notably associates the peaceful protests organized by FixTheCountry with counter protests planned by Kwame Baffoe Abronye, also known as Abronye DC, and Denis Appiah Larbi of the Patriotic Hub, President of NUGS, and a core member of Bawumia’s team.”
“While we respect the legal process and review the implications of this injunction, we wish to inform the public that the December protests will continue as planned,” they maintained, adding that “a detailed calendar of events will be released shortly, reaffirming our commitment to peaceful advocacy and dialogue. Yours in the service of Ghana.”