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'Hands Off Our Hotels' protest turns violent, police fire tear gas and pepper spray

'Hands Off Our Hotels' demonstration led by lawmaker Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa turned violent on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, as police officers prevented the protesters from proceeding to the Jubilee House to present a petition to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

'Hands Off Our Hotels' protest

The protesters, who insisted on moving to the seat of government despite the police blockade, clashed with the armed uniformed men.

Teargas and pepper spray were reportedly fired to disperse the determined crowd, causing some of the protesters to collapse and be rushed to the hospital.

Protesters gathered at the Labadi Beach Hotel to demonstrate against the sale of four Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) hotels to Rock City Hotel Limited.

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The hotels in question are the Labadi Beach Hotel, La Palm Royal Beach Resort, Elmina Beach Resort, and Busua Beach Resort.

The protest commenced at Labadi Beach Hotel and proceed to Jubilee House, the government headquarters.

Among the protesters' demands is an immediate cessation of the SSNIT hotels' sale by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

They argued that profitable state assets like Labadi Beach Hotel and Ridge Royal should never be sold without the consent of workers.

The group asserted that these assets are more lucrative than Rock City Hotel, owned by Agriculture Minister Bryan Acheampong.

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In contrast, the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has refuted any allegations of impropriety regarding its decision to sell a 60% stake in its hotels to Rock City Hotel.

SSNIT explained that the strategy to partner with an investor to raise capital for hotel investments and assist in their management was initiated as early as 2018, following International Competitive Tendering (ICT) procedures mandated by the Public Procurement Act.

However, Ablakwa, who has petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to investigate, aims to halt the sale and draw attention to what he describes as "state capture."

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