Legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu, has averred that it’s wrong for the police to brutalize demonstrators anytime they come on the streets to protest.
According to him, Ghana gained independence through consistent demonstrations and not visiting the court for their concerns to be heard, hence, the need for protesters to be given the room to register their displeasure.
He suggested that the police service rather trains their officers on how to disperse crowds as this has been one of the major challenges of the service.
Speaking on the demonstrations held by the NDC over what they term as a rigged election on Citi TV’s ‘Big Issue’ Saturday, the lawyer said, “It’s always been a problem that we don’t have a well-resourced police force to deal with demonstrations…Our police have consistently come short when it comes to crowd control. That is where we should emphasize. If someone wants to demonstrate, you don’t go out there and be beating the person, it’s wrong, rather, our emphasis should be how are we training and resourcing our police to afford the citizenry their right to demonstrate because it is part of the process. That is how other democracies have grown.”
He opined that, “In the colonial era that is how we won our independence. We didn’t win our independence through court action and writing letters. It was agitations, demonstrations. 28th February, all those ones, Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Atippoe and the rest…that’s why they died…rather, our emphasis should be resourcing our policemen, putting in place the systems to protect these demonstrators. After a while, they will die down. That is the way to go.”
The police arrested about 30 NDC protesters at the Electoral Commission headquarters in Accra Thursday, December 17.
According to the Police Service, these NDC supporters failed to adhere to the tenets of the Public Order Act, 1994 (Act 491) by duly notifying the police ahead of intended demonstrations.
These arrested persons, after going to court, have been granted GH¢100,000 bail with one surety each.