Don’t arrest Arise Ghana protest organisers now; it'll increase tension - Antwi-Danso

Professor Vladimir Antwi-Danso, the Dean of the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC) has warned the police against their intended arrest of the organisers of the Arise Ghana demonstration, saying the timing is wrong for such a move.

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According to him, the tension in the atmosphere following the June 28 chaos that plagued the demonstration makes it imprudent to make any arrests now.

3news.com reports him as having said this on the New Day show with Berla Mundi on TV3 on Wednesday June 29.

"In managing the conflict or crises, you will make sure that you don’t exacerbate the situation by some actions. In most places, when you are having such a situation, you have intelligence sources on the ground. Make sure that you set the red line and when they cross the red line you can arrest them. But I strongly suspect that today, right now, this morning, if they arrest the leadership right away it would have created the condition for disturbances so they shouldn’t, they should engage them. Policing is about engagement of the people to understand law abiding so I won’t recommend their arrest," Prof Antwi-Danso said, as quoted by the news website.

His warning follows a notice by the police that they are reviewing footage of the violent scenes recorded at the Kwame Nkruma Circle, where the protest was scheduled to take off against economic hardship, among other things.

The law enforcement agency accused the protestors of causing damage to property and injury to 12 of its officers, an act it said breaches the provisions of Section 3 of the Public Order Act, Act 491.

In a statement on Tuesday, June 28, the police said: "Available video footages of the event are being reviewed and all other persons identified for taking part in the attacks as well as inciting the violence will be arrested and brought to face justice."

The demonstration, which was expected to be peaceful, turned violent after the police prevented the demonstrators from using the Ring Road Central to march towards the Jubilee House.

Social media was awash with violent footage showing protestors hurling stones at police officers who had formed a human barricade to prevent the charged group from proceeding.

There have been counter accusations by both the police and the organisers of the demonstration as to who is blamable for the violence.

The police said in the statement that 12 of its officers were injured as a result of the chaos, while the organisers of the protest too said their members were injured, with some footage emerging to that effect.

However, the police maintain that the Arise Ghana is not being truthful with the people of Ghana on the matter in question.

"We urge the public to disregard the untruths and treat them with the contempt they deserve, for the footages and images of the event speak for themselves," part of the police statement said.

Meanwhile, 29 protestors were arrested at the protest ground, with the two-day demonstration expected to continue today, June 29.

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