Antoa, police in bloody clash during demo over bad road

An intended peaceful demonstration by the people of Antoa, Duase and Kenyase in the Kwabre East District in the Ashanti Region yesterday to protest against the bad nature of their roads turned bloody when the police opened fire on the demonstrators, causing injury to at least five of them.

While the spokesperson for the demonstrators, Mr Osei Assibey, told the Daily Graphic that one of the demonstrators had died as a result of the clash, the police have denied the claim.

However, the police confirmed that nine people, including four policemen, were injured during the demonstration.

One of the injured, identified as Kwabena Okyere, who sustained a gunshot wound between the eye and the ear, has been referred to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), while another one has been sent to the Manhyia District Hospital. 

Others have been sent to nearby facilities.
The demonstrators clashed with the police after they had blocked the main road leading to the town and resorted to the burning of car tyres which resulted in vehicular congestion on the road.

Policemen from the Mamponteng Division, who were initially detailed to provide security for the demonstrators, could not control the situation and had to call for reinforcement from Asawasi and the SWAT Bravo Unit, formerly Buffalo Unit, of the Ashanti Regional Police Command.

The men from the SWAT Bravo Unit had to fire tear gas and live ammunition to disperse the mob who had then become agitated.

The Deputy Ashanti Regional Police Public Relations Officer, Sergeant Godwin Ahianyo, said  the police had to resort to force to disperse the mob when they refused to remove the roadblocks and were attacking the policemen.

He said four policemen, three from the SWAT team and one from the Mamponteng Division, were injured in the process.

According to him, the police were yet to confirm any death as a result of the clash and debunked the claim that there had been any death during the clash.

Police accused
Meanwhile, Mr Osei Assibey had accused the police of unprofessional behaviour leading to injury to the demonstrators.

 “We were peacefully going about our demonstration when, out of nowhere, came the reinforcement who started throwing tear gas and shooting at the people with live bullets,” he said.

According to him, the demonstrators did not do anything to warrant any reinforcement and accused the police of high-handedness in their approach.

He said the demonstrators had grouped at Kenyase and were going about the demonstration peacefully when they had information that another group had also grouped at Duase and blocked the road there.

He said the citizens were sensitised to the need to be civil and peaceful during the demonstration and denied that they had been rowdy, necessitating the brute reaction.

The demonstration, which was organised by the Concerned Citizens of Kwabre East, was to protest against the bad nature of the roads in the area.

The Kwabre District Chief Executive, Mr Iddisa Adams, described the outcome of the demonstration as very unfortunate.

He said the roads in question had been given on contract in 2007 but due to the non-performance of the contractor, the contract was terminated in the latter part of last year and was being repackaged for award.

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