General News of Thursday, 12 February 2015
The Accra Regional Police Command has vowed it “will not hesitate to use legitimate means to restrain the group called “Concerned Ghanaians” from going on a demonstration on Independence Day.
The stance by the Police follows a decision by the group to defy the Police and go ahead with the planned March 6, 2015 demonstration over the worsening power situation, despite a security advice by the Service against it.
In a statement issued Thursday February 12, 2015 and signed by Ofei Dei Goodfellow and Atick Yakubu, the group said: “After a careful and exhaustive consultation with the leadership and members, Concerned Ghanaians wish to announce that the demonstration scheduled for Independence Day 6th March 2015 will proceed as scheduled.
“This is because the date is too significant to us and the good people of this country who have been plunged into deep hardship and discomfort as a result of the energy crisis. We can’t think of a better day and date than 6th March to exercise our constitutionally guaranteed right to protest.
“This is a march by peaceful Ghanaians and as such does not require full battle gear to police it. That is if the Police choose to do so.”
The Police Service, in a counter statement signed by ASP Effia Tenge of the Public Affairs Unit said: “In as much as Police respects the constitutional and fundamental human rights of every individual and group of persons regarding the holding of special events, the collective decision of any group should, however, fall in line with the Public Order Act 1991 (Act 491), which explicitly spells out the modalities and proper conduct of any such event.”
“As such any attempt by any group of persons to demonstrate on the said date, which is likely to jeopardise the grand celebration of the 58th anniversary of the country will not be countenanced.
“Taking the strong decision of the group into consideration, the Police is likely to use whatever powers accorded it by section 6 of the public order act to prohibit the leadership to revert the decision,” the Police said.
The Service nonetheless said it is “prepared to give the group the maximum protection and security should they rescind their decision to postpone the date to another day.”
Section I (6) of ACT 491 stipulates that: “Where the organisers refuse to comply with the request under subsection (4) or fail to notify the police officer in accordance with subsection (5), the police officer may apply to any judge or a chairman of a Tribunal for an order to prohibit the holding of the special event on the proposed date or at the proposed location.