A demonstration to drum home the need for a new voters register turned violent, after the police fired tear gas into the demonstrators and flogged some.
The UK branch of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has described the brutality meted out on demonstrators by the Ghana Police Service as, “disgraceful, shameful and an affront, that will leave a deep scar on Ghana’s democratic dispensation.”
READ MORE: > Police whip Let My Vote Count Alliance demonstrators
A demonstration by the members and supporters of the Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA), Alliance For Accountable Governance (AFAG) and Movement for Better Ghana to drum home the need for a new voters register turned violent, after the police fired tear gas into the demonstrators and flogged some.
The police claimed the demonstrators violated agreements on the approved routes.
However, a statement by NPP UK condemned the act of brutality by the police. The group has called on the Government of Ghana, to call the Police Service and Security forces to order. It is also asking for the release of persons who were unlawfully arrested as a result of this demonstration.
Below is the full statement:
NPP UK condemns unequivocally, the wonton acts of brutality meted out on peaceful demonstrators by the Ghana Police Service and security agencies in Accra today. The bloody scenes which unfolded on the streets of Accra yesterday, and have been beamed across the world, were to say the least, disgraceful, shameful and an affront, that will leave a deep scar on Ghana’s democratic dispensation.
The shocking and barbaric acts were carried out by Police and Security personnel who were detailed to guard and protect protesters who had embarked on a peaceful demonstration in line with their constitutional rights. The demonstrators were only marching through the streets of Accra to present a petition to the Electoral Commission demanding the scrapping of the current bloated and discredited electoral register and the compilation of a new one for the 2016 elections!
The peaceful demonstration which was attended by Ghanaians from all walks of life was organised by groups who want to see the integrity of our democracy restored, following recent calls by several groups for a new voters register ahead of the 2016 elections.
The organisers included the pressure group “Let My Vote Count”, Movement for Better Ghana, Alliance for Accountable Governance and some political parties including the Progressive Peoples Party and the National Democratic Party. The leaders of the demonstration had duly served notice to peacefully picket at the Electoral Commission to present their petition in accordance with the law, but clashed with the Police over the route they would take. The resulting acts of brutality by the Police, including the use of tear gas, police batons, sheer force, and even apparent shooting at protestors, are reminiscent of the era of military rule in Ghana, criminal in nature and an affront to Ghana’s democracy.
Such acts must have no place in Ghana’s 4 republic. We must rise up together to defend our hard-won freedoms! We call on all peace-loving Ghanaians to unreservedly condemn this action. We call on the Government of Ghana, to call the Police Service and Security forces, to order, to the voice of the people, desist from such cowardly and shameful acts, and to immediately release any persons they have unlawfully arrested as a result of this demonstration. We further call on the Electoral Commission, to accede to the request for a new voters register and to move with urgency to compile a new register that will restore trust in our electoral process. The consequences of not heeding to these calls will be ghastly to contemplate. We hold the government, under whose watch this is happening, accountable, and demand that they act responsibly and take the necessary actions in a timely manner, to avert any further brutalities and confusion that will only mar the peace that Ghanaians deserve ahead of, and after the 2016 elections!
Chairman, NPP UK
17 September, 2015