A Leading Member of the Arise Ghana pressure group, Bernard Mornah, has recounted what had allegedly ensued at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Tuesday June 28, between protesters and police personnel.
According to him, the police had instigated the riot that had marred what was to be a peaceful demonstration, and the actions of the protesters were only reactionary.
This in sharp contrast to an earlier press release by the police stating that their actions were in reaction to protesters pelting stones at them.
Mr. Mornah further stated that the actions of the police had placed the wellbeing of some leading members of the National Democratic Congress into harm’s way.
He described the actions of the police as a demonstration of ‘President Akufo-Addo’s infestation of the service with his violence.’
Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, he shared his account of events;
I am scandalized that President Akufo-Addo will allow his violence to infest the Ghana Police Service in the magnitude that it happened today. We’ve always known President Akufo-Addo as a violent person, he has demonstrated this by the many attacks that he has launched on even media persons in this country through his agents and assigns as he used the Ghana Police Service to achieve today.
I had occasion to speak to the IGP after I listened to the command instructions he issued this morning. I called him to commend him and to tell him that we on our part have also spoken extensively with our people and that everything we are hopeful will be fine.
I got to the grounds around 11 am, and around 12:20 thereabout, a team of Commissioners of Police arrived led by COP Yowunoo, I saw the Greater Accra Regional Commander, I saw Commissioner Doku, I saw Commissioner Habiba, I saw Commissioner Awini – and all these came and they told me that they wanted to have a meeting with the leadership. Then I said ‘no problem’, but I was the first leader to arrive and so I took a walk around to see if everything was in place. So I will call the other leaders and we’ll meet; but where do we meet? And we both – myself and the police – we agreed that we should meet inside the Kwame Nkrumah Amusement Garden, they have some offices there.
So I called my other colleagues. When those colleagues came – in fact before they came about 20 minutes, I walked to them and said my colleagues will be here 10-20 minutes and they said it’s all okay. They got to us and then we walked to the police, and I noticed that the crowd was surging so I went trying to push some of the protestors and saying give the police way so that we can have the meeting with them so that we can come and attend to you.
Some ones of the police officials were wearing clothes like this (Arise Ghana red shirts), I didn’t know they were police officers. So when I said please go back so that these officers can go up with us they told me right in front of the police – this was not in camera, this was open – that they are police officers and they are protecting their bosses and pointed to Yowunoo and those who were standing there. Police officers wearing Arise Ghana t-shirts.
And so I said okay, if you are officers, I cannot give officers command, so Commander I leave them in your care. So I said Commander, if these are your boys then I’m moving. So I went to where our people were and said give way. We managed to secure passage so we went up to have our meeting. And what was it? What time are we starting? I said we start in an hour and we’ll take through our routes. But since the police are insistent that we should not go to the Flagstaff House we will not go. When we get to Ako-Adjei, we will turn towards the Ministries, terminate at the Ministries taxi rank. COP Yowunoo picked his phone and placed a call – it took him about 5-10 minutes, we were all waiting for him to finish the call – when he finished the call he said it will not work.
I said oh so whilst you’re here you’re taking instructions? Okay if it will not work, we have nothing to do, we are going. So we got down and we moved everybody into the amusement garden and we started addressing them. After that, myself, Totobi Kwakye, Asiedu Nketiah, and I think Ofosu Ampofo, we decided that we should walk to go up and see what was happening. When we got [there] we noticed that the police had placed barricades. As we were approaching, the police went on top of the vehicle and started aiming at us.
The boys around us started pulling me back ‘don’t go’ and I said I don’t know why they’re doing this. So when they started shooting somehow those rubber bullets fell short of getting to us. So I said okay, let’s go back. So I even broke – you know they cordoned us, we had our own security – so I broke the chain, I went under and went out and said ‘everybody retreat’. So we all retreated towards the Kwame Nkrumah Circle. We decided that moving around the circle was sufficient – police say we will not go our way, using their route, we will not go so we were there.
So I said no. Whilst were there the protesters were accusing us that we were too dull, that they want to go to the police and I said no one is going there. So we decided that we should address the crowd there and then, once we started speaking, people will crowd around, before we could say jack these police officers started surging on us, shooting into the KIA truck that we were speaking in.
Ofosu Ampofo had finished speaking; Rex Omar had spoken; other leading members had finished speaking; the drivers for change had all finished speaking, so it was virtually left with myself and Asiedu Nketiah to speak. Totobi Kwakye was standing by the KIA.
So when they started shooting – I say this and people laugh – I don’t know where Asiedu Nketiah learnt his tactics from, he just dived inside the KIA and laid down flat inside the KIA. Totobi was trying to move towards the police to find out where this madness was coming from, then his bodyguard pushed him to the ground because the people were coming with such ferociousness.
So when they pushed Totobi onto the ground I noticed that they bundled Totobi to take him away. So I decided to jump out of the KIA, Baba Jamal was around, so Ofosu Ampofo in his attempt to jump his shoe got held by one of the things on the KIA. He fell from that height. So when he fell and a tear gas landed there and exploded right in his face, so these boys were pushing me to get away , then I said ‘no Ofosu Ampofo is hurt, let me go back’, the boys said no, let us secure you and come for Ofosu Ampofo.
So they took me to the far end and came back and picked Ofosu Ampofo towards my direction. This is towards the Ghana Telecom side. We stayed there for a while, and the police started coming there too. I moved into the lorry park, they were shooting into the crowd. I moved all the way to Neoplan, they were shooting into Neoplan station.
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