Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah

The Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has said there are deliberate attempts by some individuals to destabilise the country.

According to him, some persons have been striving to use demonstrations to perpetrate violence and throw the nation into a disarray.

“We don’t need to mince words about it. There is a trajectory – first, there was a group that wanted to demonstrate with weapons.

“Then, there was this group that said they wanted to demonstrate at night or to demonstrate from the evening throughout the night till the next morning. The Police raised obvious security questions that it will be difficult,” he said.

He was speaking in relation to the Arise Ghana demonstration, which was marred by chaotic scenes and attacks on Police officers and public properties.

The Ofoase Ayirebi legislator noted that but for the interventions by the Police, other similar protests could have landed the country in a state of insecurity, considering the manner in which the Arise Ghana demonstrators behaved on Tuesday, June 28.

“This [Arise Ghana demo] is even daytime, broad daylight at Obra Spot here in Accra – we have people attacking Police officers in this manner. Can you imagine what would have happened at night if indeed some of these things were allowed to continue throughout the night?” he asked in an interview on Metro TV.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Information Minister says it appears the conveners of the Arise Ghana demonstration are shirking responsibility when it comes to the role they played in the violence that ensued between protestors and police personnel.

Fatimatu Abubakar said they had failed to adequately educate and sensitise protesters on the limitations of their exercise as well as the routes set out by the Accra High Court.

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, she said, “As a lawyer, I know very well that the rights of every single Ghanaian guaranteed under Article 21 Clause 1d of the 1992 Constitution is such that everyone who wants to protest has the opportunity to do so in this country without anybody trampling upon their rights. But every right comes with its responsibility.

“In this entire conversation, as a leader of the demonstration or one of the conveners of the demonstration, I haven’t heard a sentence from Bernard that he also accepts some responsibility. He who comes to equity ought to come with clean hands.”

Police justification

The Ghana Police Service has justified the use of tear gas and water cannons during the Arise Ghana protest on Tuesday.

The police in a statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs, Grace Ansah-Akrofi, explained that the service resorted to the use of tear gas and water cannons to “subdue the rioting and restore order.”

This, according to them, happened after the Arise Ghana protesters went contrary to court orders directing that the protest should commence at the Obra Spot in Accra and end at the Independence Square.

According to the police, although the demonstration by the Arise Ghana group commenced with demonstrators gathering at the Obra spot at about 8 am, “the organisers insisted on using routes leading to the Jubilee House.”

They added that “all attempts to persuade them to comply with the court-approved routes did not yield the expected results.”

The police said, “unfortunately and without any provocation, the demonstrators began pelting the police with stones.”