Home » OccupyGhana Criticises Police for Arresting #OccupyJulorbiHouse Protesters

OccupyGhana Criticises Police for Arresting #OccupyJulorbiHouse Protesters

by Ikeoluwa Juliana Ogungbangbe

Advocacy group OccupyGhana has voiced strong concerns over the arrest of peaceful protesters by Ghanaian police during a public holiday. The demonstrators were reportedly “processed for unlawful public gathering.”

The group, known for similar protests, emphasized that the right to peaceful protest is a key aspect of democratic freedoms enshrined in Ghana’s Constitution. OccupyGhana called for these rights to be respected by all state institutions.

On Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, police arrested 49 protesters outside Julorbi House who were demonstrating against the Akufo-Addo administration. A BBC journalist and cameraman were also detained.

OccupyGhana questioned the police’s approach, stating that law enforcement chose arrests over peaceful dialogue. The arrests occurred during a period when they would minimally disrupt traffic, indicating alternative, less confrontational approaches could have been used.

The group noted that no court injunction was served to the demonstrators, meaning their right to protest was legally protected. OccupyGhana cited a 30-year-old Supreme Court ruling, New Patriotic Party v Inspector General of Police, which declared that a police permit isn’t needed for peaceful demonstrations. 

The group criticized the current practice of requiring protesters to notify police as being tantamount to an unconstitutional permit requirement.

The individuals who were arrested during the protest have since been released, a move that OccupyGhana has welcomed as a step in the right direction. However, the group continues to insist that the arrests shouldn’t have occurred in the first place.

 OccupyGhana is strongly urging the Ghana Police Service to uphold the rule of law and respect the constitutional rights of citizens, emphasizing that a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding these arrests is imperative to ensure justice is served.

In addition to calling for an investigation, OccupyGhana is making an appeal to all involved parties — from law enforcement agencies to governmental bodies — to engage in constructive dialogue with citizens who are exercising their constitutional freedoms. The group believes that a cooperative approach, rather than a confrontational one, is key to upholding democratic values.

OccupyGhana took this opportunity to reiterate its core mission: to steadfastly advocate for transparency in governance, accountability of public officials, and the unwavering protection of civil liberties in Ghana. They assert that fulfilling this mission is possible only in a society where citizens’ rights are not just acknowledged but also actively protected.

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