The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) says it is gravely concerned by reported cases of abuse by the police during the Occupy Jubilee House protest last week.
While chastising the police, the Commission noted that partaking in demonstrations and various assemblies is part of the fundamental rights of all persons.
“The NCCE wishes to remind all stakeholders that “freedom of assembly including freedom to take part in processions and demonstrations” is a fundamental human right. There is absolutely no justification for the alleged heavy-handed and excessive response by the personnel of the Ghana Police Service on the demonstrators.
“Indeed, it is unfortunate that after thirty years of constitutional democracy, the Police Service often appears to have difficulty responding to basic crowd control challenges, and all frequently resorts to heavy-handed tactics,” a statement by the NCCE said on Monday, September 25, 2023.
It recognized that conducts such as these have the propensity to ruin the democracy the current generation inherited.
“The Commission reiterates the need for all Ghanaians, including the Executive, the Legislature, the Judiciary, state institutions, and political parties, civil society organisations, the clergy to unite and work together to help consolidate and preserve Ghana’s democracy in order to bequeath to posterity, a democracy better than what we inherited.”
The three-day protest began on Thursday, September 21- intentionally set to coincide with the birthday of Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah. The first day was however marred by arrests by the police as they described the protest as an “unlawful assembly and violation of the Public Order Act”. (https://chacc.co.uk)
It was reported that the dozens of protesters who got arrested were subjected to various forms of abuse, an allegation the police have denied.
The police have challenged persons with evidence of these abuses to present them for necessary action.
The second and third days were hampered by personnel of the Ghana Police Service as protesters remained at the 37 Military Hospital. The police mounted barricades to prevent protesters from making their way up to the Jubilee House where they intended to picket until Saturday, September 23, 2023.
The group protested against the economic mismanagement by the incumbent government; Corruption; Ineffective healthcare system; human rights abuse under the current government; and abuse of power and authority.