Police Stop GUTA Demo

Haruna Iddrisu – Trade Minister and George Ofori – GUTA President

An Accra Circuit Court yesterday restrained the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) from organising a protest march at the Drug Lane, Okaishie, in Accra.

This was after the court, presided over by Francis Obiri, had granted an ex-parte motion filed by the Ghana Police Service.

It ordered GUTA to hold its demonstration at the two venues proposed by the police. The police had proposed the Accra Hearts of Oak Park or the Efua Sutherland Park.

The court, however, stated that GUTA could choose any other location for their protest.

The traders in Accra and Kumasi had declared a three-day strike action after which the fourth day would be used for a demonstration at Okaishie. Chief Supt. E. Afful, in a motion, stated among other things that the Drug Lane was inappropriate for the proposed activity.

‘The police believe that the Drug Lane for the protest is not convenient for security reasons considering the location,’ he said indicating that ‘over 3,000 members are expected to be addressed at the venue.’

Chief Supt. Afful further averred that, ‘The organisers of the protest if not restrained from holding the protest at the Drug Lane, are likely to occasion the breach of the peace.’

According to the police officer, ‘The organisers are bent on organising the protest at the Drug Lane, though the police, on receipt of the letter, advised against the venue and proposed the Accra Hearts of Oak Park or the Afua Sutherland Park.’

The court, in a ruling, granted the order and insisted that GUTA must agree to the directives of the police.

GUTA had in a letter to the Regional Command, dated June 17, 2014, informed the police of its intention to organise a protest and have all shops closed within Accra on June 24.

According to the letter, the protest, expected to be addressed by the National Executives of the traders’ union, had been necessitated by what they said was ‘the government’s policies that collapse their businesses.’

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By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson

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