Senior Lecturer of the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Asah-Asante, says there is the need for more education and sensitization for demonstrators and security personnel when demonstrations are staged.
According to him, this is particular important as demonstrations are one of the many avenues citizens of a democratic society like Ghana to express dissent and have their voices heard.
He explained that without the necessary education and sensitization, ugly scenes such as what was seen, Tuesday June 28, at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle during the Arise Ghana demonstration will be a more common occurrence.
He said, “Strictly speaking when you talk about who handles demonstrations then it is the police that come in, alright. More often than not you’ll see letters are written, permissions are sought and all that. They agree, and if they don’t agree they go to court. One way or the other there is an amicable solution that is found to the problem and then demonstrations are staged.
“But when people hit the streets, events tend to take a different turn and then you see these things. It tells you that we need more education to the masses especially people who want to demonstrate and people who also have the power to handle security in this country.
“We need to educate both parties very well so that demonstrations should be peaceful because it is an important aspect of every democratic society that demonstrations are allowed and that demonstrators also operate within the remit of the law.”
He was reacting to the police-protestors clash during the Arise Ghana demonstrations.
The police say protestors began to pelt officers and police vehicles with stones unprovoked while they were trying to protect the protestors on their march.
According to them, their use of teargas canisters, rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse the crowd was to protect police officers stationed on the ground and property.
However, convener for Arise Ghana, Bernard Mornah, says otherwise.
According to him, it was rather the police that had started firing into the crowd unprovoked, endangering lives and property.
He stated that the actions of the police was what had provoked the pelting of stones and burning of tyres by the protestors.
Currently, three people have been arrested in connection with the violence that ensued