The Inspector-General of Police, Mr James Oppong-Boanuh, has written to the leadership of the youth wing of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) asking for a meeting at 4 pm today, Friday, July 2, 2021, regarding the party’s intended July 6, ‘march for justice.
An invitation letter to the party signed by the Director-General/Operations of the Ghana Police Service, COP Kwaku Boadu-Peprah, said: “The Inspector-General of Police respectfully requests a meeting with the leadership of the demonstration, today, July 2, 2021, at 4:00 pm at the national police headquarters, Accra, for further discussion on security implications and arrangements for the intended demonstration”.
The youth wing had warned that it would defy a no-demonstration order by the police and proceed with the march on July 6.
The group wrote to the Ghana Police Service informing it about the march in a letter on June 30, 2021.
The letter, signed by the NDC’s national youth organiser, Mr George Opare Addo, indicated that “this protest is to demand justice for all persons killed and brutalised by state-sponsored thuggery and/or adventurism by police and military forces”.
But the Ghana Police Service, in a letter signed by the Greater Accra Regional Commander, DCOP E. A. Sakyi stated: “The Accra Regional Police Command acknowledged receipt of your letter dated 30th June 2021 on the above subject matter ‘A March For Justice’ demonstration and street protest] and wish to inform you that restrictions imposed by the Executive Instrument (E.I) 395 to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has still not been lifted.
“The Regional Command also refers you to section 4 of the Public Order Act 1994 (ACT 49) particularly concerning Public Health”.
“The Command, therefore, cannot provide you with the needed security during your intended demonstration and street protest please,” the letter added.
But in a counter-statement signed by Mr Opare Addo on July 1, 2021, the group indicated that the police does not have the legal right to restrain them from embarking on the demonstration.
“The general public is hereby informed that section 4 of Act 491 specifically clothes the Minister for the Interior with the power to impose a curfew in the country, and so far as we are concerned, no part of Accra is under curfew for which reason demonstration cannot be held as the police erroneously want us to believe”.
The statement continued: “The weakest of all reasons cited by the police was its reference to EI 395 in its letter. For the records, EI 395 was birthed on the strength of section 2 of the Imposition of Restriction Act, 2020 (Act 1012) and gazetted on December 23, 2020.
“It is instructive to note that section 4 of Act 1012 provides for ‘a restriction imposed under subsection (1) of the section (2)’ and shall be for not more than three months. If the police were not meticulous and not preoccupied with petty partisan politics, it would have known that EI 395 expired in March 2021. In effect, there is no law as EI 395 to be adhered to”.
“We want to inform the general public, who have received notice of the ‘A MARCH FOR JUSTICE’ street protest with enthusiasm and eagerness that there is no law which gives the Ghana Police Service the power to stop demonstrations or protests”.
“In other words, the power to stop lawful demonstration does not rest with the police”.
“We have decided to stand in for the several young people at the mercy of the injustices of the system; with lost hopes, no jobs, no opportunities and yet being killed and oppressed. The government must work for the generality of the people whose taxes finance the luxurious living and wishes of a select few in the public service,” the statement added.