The Ashanti Regional Police says it will on Wednesday arraign some 10 people who were part of demonstrators demanding the reversal of government’s ban on small scale mining in the country.
The 10 were believed to be carrying weapons including machetes, hammers in a demo that was not sanctioned by the police.
The demonstration was subsequently scuttled by police due to some miscommunication about the number of people expected to take part in the protest.
There were skirmishes which resulted in the throwing of tear gas, Luv FM's Prince Appiah reported.
The Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners has described the total ban on small-scale mining as a lazy approach to dealing with the devastating effects of illegal mining popularly called ‘galamsey’.
They have expressed misgivings about how media reportage has lumped both small-scale mining and illegal miners together.
According to them, the solution to illegal mining must start with drawing a distinction between certified small scale miners and illegal miners engaged in direct pollution of the environment.
The Ghana Water Company had made a bleak projection that the country may be forced to import water for consumption in the next decade if the current rate of pollution of water sources continues.
This and many other reasons led to the total ban by government some seven months ago.
Speaking about the protest, the Ashanti Regional Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Juliana Obeng told Evans Mensah on Joy FM’s Newsnite programme that the protestors failed to live by the agreement they had earlier with the police.
She said they met the organisers of the demonstration on Monday evening and directed them to cancel the Tuesday scheduled protest because they violated the initial plans suggested by them.
“Initially, the agreement to start from the stadium had changed, which was a breach in total defiance of the orders that were given to them,” she said
She added that the organisers earlier said they were expecting 200 people only to change their minds later to say over 5000 people will show up which the police did not immediately have the logistics to cater for.
In spite of the arrests and breaches, spokesperson for the Small Scale Miners Association, Mike Gizo said the purpose for the planned protest was achieved.
“We have had a very successful outing and we were able to get ourselves assembled and discussed issues.
“The incidents that happened did not mar the beauty of what we had and we will make sure that those people are released with immediate effect. We have been law abiding citizens and we have not taken any agitated move since the ban took effect,” he said.
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