Leadership of the pressure group, Concerned Ghanaians (CG), has called the bluff of the police administration to prevent the group’s intended ‘dumsor’ demo scheduled for March 6.
The police issued a statement that they would use legitimate means to postpone the demonstration which was to coincide with Ghana’s 58th independence anniversary. The police reaction was occasioned by failed attempts to get the group to reschedule the protest. However, leadership of CG underscored, ‘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.’
Moments after the police had issued out the threat, spokesman for the group, Goodfellow Dei Ofei, told DAILY GUIDE, ‘We have with utter dismay, taken note of the veiled threat by the police to use force to stop us from embarking on our protest on 6th March. However, we shall not be cowered by these threats.’
As peace-loving and law-abiding citizens, he assured, ‘We shall proceed to embark on our peaceful demonstration on the 6th of March.’
But the police statement, signed by its regional spokeswoman, ASP Effia Tenge maintained, ‘The Accra Regional Police Command will not hesitate to use legitimate means to restrain the group – ‘Concerned Ghanaians’ – on their willful decision to embark on a planned demonstration slated for 6th March, 2015, the Independence Day celebration.’
Even though she admitted the fact that the group notified the police in accordance with the Public Order Act, 1994, (ACT 491) to embark on a demonstration, Effia Tenge noted, ‘The group has refused to consider a postponement and has deliberately decided to take the law into their hands to act otherwise.
‘In as much as the police respect 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, 1994 (ACT 491) which explicitly spells out the modalities and proper conduct of any such event.’
As a result, the police public relations unit had warned that ‘Any attempt by any group of persons to demonstrate on the said date which is likely to jeopardize the grand celebration of the 58th anniversary of the country, will not be countenanced.’
Taking what they said was the ‘strong decision’ of the group, the police said they were likely to use whatever powers accorded them by Section (6) of the Public Order Act to prevail on leadership of the group to revert their decision, and said maximum protection and security would be given the demonstrators, should they rescind their decision and postpone the date to another day apart from Independence day.
But Goodfellow said, ‘We have diligently complied with the letter of the law concerning our planned demonstration on 6th March.
‘As it stands now, it appears the police want to start making laws; this we believe is a breach and usurpation of powers the Constitution did not grant the police. We are a nation governed by the rule of law and should be applicable to all, including the police.’
He encouraged Ghanaians to come out in their numbers to join them on 6th March to embark on what he described as ‘this peaceful and harmless endeavour.’
Concerned Ghanaians have argued that, ‘The date (6th March) 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.’
The group emphasized, ‘This is a march by peaceful Ghanaians and as such does not require full battle gear to police it. The police as key players in our democracy, shall cooperate with us as we embark on this all-important but very peaceful demonstration.’
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