Fourty-nine Democracy Hub demonstrators were arrested yesterday in Accra by the police for “unlawful assembly and violation of the Public Order Act.”
They were arrested around the precincts of the Jubilee House, the seat of government, where they intended to picket for three-days, and the 37 Military Hospital.
“This arrest was a result of the flagrant disregard of the court process served on the organisers of the Democracy Hub group, which seeks to prohibit them from embarking on a planned demonstration within the vicinity of the Jubilee House,” the police said in a statement.
Clad in red and black and the national flag, the arrested demonstrators were marshalled into a waiting police bus and driven to the Accra Regional Police Headquarters, where they have been placed in cells assisting in investigation.
Whiles they were being ushered into the police branded bus, the protestors sang the patriotic national youth anthem ‘arise Ghana youth for your country’ to exhibit their resolve, our reporter observed.
Some of them were also bungled into the bucket of a waiting police pickup and driven to the regional police headquarters.
The demonstrators, made up of various youth groups, converged on the 37 lorry park before marching towards the Jubilee House.
In their hundreds, the protestors, some on motorbikes continually pumped their fist into the air as they sang the anthem and marched towards the Jubilee House.
The police had deployed scores of personnel in crowd control vehicles and riot gear around the Jubilee House, to foil any security threat.
While the bold gave themselves up to the police willingly without rebelling, the faint hearted avoided arrest and bolted from the police.
The police had filed an interlocutory injunction on Wednesday to halt the protest march and claimed to have served the protestors; a claim the protestors have dismissed.
But organisers of the march said they have not been served.
In a video he posted on his Facebook page from the bus, Oliver Barker-Vormawor, leader of Fix the Country, one of the pressure groups, said “we don’t know where they are taking us.”
He continued “they have no right to arrest demonstrators in the country. This is not the democracy we signed up for. This is not a democracy.”
Mr Barker-Vormawor thinks the police have been “weaponised” to attack and oppress voices of democracy and cow them into submission.
The police, however, in its statement explained that it does not take delight in preventing any group from demonstrating and that “the exception, in this case, is the police disagreement with the organisers on the venue, the Jubilee House, being a security zone.”
The march was to protest what organisers of the demonstration called “bad economic management and high levels of corruption” in the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo led government.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI