An overwhelming security presence brought Black Lives Matter vigil between the Black Star Square and Black Star Gate to a premature end on Saturday evening.
One of the organisers of the vigil, Ernesto Yeboah of the Economic Fighters League, was also arrested and detained at the Accra Central Police Station amid cries of injustice from many gathered.
The police insisted that the vigil, which they described as a protest, was not authorised whilst organisers of the vigil produced evidence indicating they notified the police in line with the Public Order Act.
“Any person who desires to hold any special event within the meaning of this Act in any public place shall notify the police of his intention not less than 5 days before the date of the special event,” the Act says.
A member of the Economic Fighters League Communications team, Nii Ayi Opare, found it ironic that the police action was happening in the shadow of the Black Star Gate which proclaims “Freedom and Justice”.
“Those very rights which were promised to us by our constitutions are being defiled,” he insisted.
The vigil, attended by some 100 people, had been going on peacefully for about an hour when the police started arriving in droves.
At a point during the vigil, there was almost one security personnel to three attendees owing to the excessive police response.
“It was quite abnormal to have police enforcements and military reinforcements to come and disrupt and a peaceful organisation,” Arimiyaw Usama, a member of Economic Fighters League noted.
Though the organisers insisted on calling the gathering a vigil, it had some hallmarks of a protest including placards and chanting.
The Black Lives Matter movement has centred George Floyd in recent times, whose tragic death has sparked protests globally, but the Saturday evening vigil stressed the sanctity of black life worldwide and condemned all forms of oppression.
For every placard that had America’s George Floyd, Amaud Aubery and Breona Taylor, all of whom were killed in the last few months, there were placards of the four Takoradi Girls who were kidnapped and killed in the Western Region, slain journalist with Tiger Eye P.I. Ahmed Suale and Eric Ofotsu, the Ashaiman resident shot and killed by a soldier during the lockdown of Tema.
The iconic Martin Luther King Jr quote: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to injustice everywhere”, was a common refrain on the night as protesters stressed the importance of expressing support for minorities everywhere.
“It is important for us to show a connection to black people around the world… we need to be able to have power together,” one of the attendees at the Vigil, Yvette Tetteh remarked.
Protesters angry over arrest of leader
Meanwhile, some of the protesters who were angry over the disruption of their vigil and subsequent arrest of Ernesto Yeboah marched to the premises of Citi FM to express their anger.
They used the opportunity to request for the release of Ernesto Yeboah.