THE NATIONAL Democratic Congress (NDC) has condemned as crude and shameful, the arrest of some protesters by the police on Thursday, 21 September 2023.
A statement signed by General Secretary, Honourable Fifi Fiavi Kwetey and copied to Soireenews.com fumed that the biggest opposition party learnt of the sad event with "great disappointment".
The party said the brutality was reprehensible.
"The NDC is saddened by such crude tactics being deployed by the police at a time when the IGP is being applauded for making efforts toward transforming the Ghana Police Service into the best institution in the country," the party noted. "This shameful show of brute force runs counter to that."
"It’s regrettable the police would think that violence and suppression of human rights is the best way to address issues," the party said.
It noted: "After 31 years of our democratic journey, it is a crying shame that we cannot find more peaceful ways to address these issues."
"This is a massive step backwards for our democracy," the NDC observed. "We hereby call on the police to use professional means to handle these issues and to release the arrested protesters forthwith."
"In the spirit of solidarity, we extend empathy to protesters who have been injured and/or detained by the police. We hereby call on all progressive forces to join the NDC to provide legal and other support to assist all the protesters who have been arrested or injured by the police," the party added.
Meanwhile, several top guns of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) have also criticized the Ghana Police Service's handling of the peaceful demonstrations.
The arrests of 49 protesters on Day 1 of the protests, along with the subsequent mistreatment of the detainees, have drawn sharp rebukes from within the NPP ranks.
Former President Kufuor
John Agyekum Kufuor reiterated his long-standing stance on the importance of human rights, democracy, the rule of law, and free and fair elections in achieving good governance and maintaining peace and security.
In a tweet on Thursday, September 21, 2023, he underscored the significance of respecting these principles, especially in the context of the ongoing protests.
Kufour's tweet read: "Respect for human rights, democracy, rule of law, coupled with free and fair elections are essential to good governance and development of peace and security everywhere."
Akosua Manu, a Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the National Youth Authority (NYA), condemned the actions of the police during the protests.
She emphasized that regardless of whether there was an injunction in place, the police had no justification to illegally mistreat the demonstrators.
Manu stated, "Injunction or not, the police cannot treat young protestors in this manner. To protest is a right enshrined under the Constitution, and the legitimacy of a protest is not dependent on the cause. IGP Dampare, respectfully establish democratic order and safeguards the rights of the protestors."
The Director of Communication for the NPP, Richard Ahiagbah echoed the sentiment that the right to demonstrate is a fundamental democratic right.
He criticized the police's decision to impede the demonstrators, stressing that such actions were unacceptable.
Mr Ahiagbah expressed his views, saying, "The ability of the people to demonstrate is an inherent democratic right. Therefore, the decision to stand in the way of citizens' exercise of this fundamental right is unacceptable."
In the other part of his tweet, he addressed the protesters: "I don't agree with the derogatory caption of the Presidency by the organizers of the demonstration, but impeding their right to peaceful assembly is an affront to democracy--plain and simple."
Ahiagbah went on to highlight that previous peaceful demonstrations had taken place under President Akufo-Addo's administration and questioned the timing and necessity of the police actions during the recent protests.
On Day 1 (September 21) of the #OccupyJulorbiHouse protests by the Democracy Hub, a group of young activists; police illegally rounded up 49 protesters who were marching to demand action on the prevailing economic crisis and corruption.
The illegal arrests, especially how they were conducted by the police triggered harsh criticism of impeding the constitutional right to protest and deploying highhandedness on the part of police.
Police sent the detainees to the regional headquarters before splitting them up into about eight police stations dotted across the capital, even as colleague protesters and lawyers worked to secure bail for the illegally detained persons.
In this process, other journalists and protesters who massed up, especially at the Accra Regional Command encountered some amount of police violence including shoving, forced detention, seizure of phones, and in the case of other physical assault.
In their first of two statements on the day, police said the illegal arrests were justified because protesters were defying a court injunction served on them, which process they denied had been properly served.
The second statement addressed the purported arrest of a BBC journalist and his cameraman, which reportage they dismissed as untrue.
By the close of the day, almost all illegally detained protesters per GhanaWeb checks had been released from illegal detention on bail, it remains to be seen whether Day Two of the three-day protest targeting the seat of government, the Jubilee House, will come off today (September 22, 2023).
Injunction or not, the police cannot treat young protestors in this manner. To protest is a right enshrined under the Constitution and the legitimacy of a protest is not dependent on the cause. IGP Dampare, respectfully establish democratic order and safeguard the rights of the…
Akosua Manu (@KozieOzie) September 21, 2023
The ability of the people to demonstrate is an inherent democratic right. Therefore, the decision to stand in the way of citizens' exercise of this fundamental right is unacceptable. I don't agree with the derogatory caption of the Presidency by the organizers of the…