Bernard Mornah, one of the leaders of the #OccupyJulorbiHouse protest, has criticized the Ghana Police Service for preventing protesters from going ahead with their planned demonstration in the vicinity of the seat of government, Jubilee House.
In an interview on Citi TV‘s political talk show, The Big Issue, Mornah rubbished the police’s claim that the Jubilee House is a security installation. He argued that the Jubilee House should be the safest place for protesters to mass up to press home their demands if it’s considered a security zone.
Mornah said places seen as security zones have top-notch security to prevent any untoward activity that may arise in such areas.
“We sit in this country, everything has gone wayward. When we are protesting for the general well-being and safeguarding of our nation, then you have the police come and tell us they have earmarked some places to be security zones. We asked the Inspector General of Police George Dampare Akuffo, if he doesn’t see the heavy traffic on the #JulorbiHouse from 6. a.m. to 7 p.m. or sometimes,” Mornah said.
He emphasized, “We don’t agree that any place is a security zone, in fact, if the place is a security zone, it is the safest place to be. It means the place is a fortified area, the security is in total control of the area, and they should be in a position to ensure the protection of lives and property.
“If, for instance, the #JulorbiHouse area [Jubilee House] is seen as a security zone, what it means is that there’s proper surveillance around that area. What it means is that at the least disturbance, the security is able to run in and do what they have to do. Such a place is the easiest for the police to regulate and direct traffic. Doing your traffic duties among demonstrators also now constitute a security threat? Certainly, that cannot constitute a security threat”.
Mornah described the police’s action on Thursday as ‘reckless’.
“On the first day of the protest which was a Thursday, September 21, the police behaved in such a reckless, unlawful violent manner. True to our predictions, the police acted in an illegal manner. We met the IGP and his team, but it was evident that the issue of justice for the people is not a preoccupation of the police. All that they are thinking about is peace. But when injustice is perpetuated, no one can expect that peace can survive,” he told Host Selorm Adonoo.
He also commended the police for ensuring that the demonstration was peaceful on Friday.
The police, on Wednesday, September 20, filed an injunction application preventing the group from proceeding with the intended protest.
The group leaders in response insisted on going ahead with the protest, but the police on Thursday, September 21, stopped the group from massing up at Jubilee House for defying its orders.
49 members of Democracy Hub including a BBC journalist and his cameraman were arrested, while Metro TV’s Bridget Otoo was also roughed up by the police on Thursday.
The group on Friday continued its protest, with the police barricading them from marching to the Jubilee House.