police vs protesters

Police now hunt for Arise Ghana! leaders after protests turn violent

By Jonas Nyabor, Jaysim Hanspal

Posted on June 29, 2022 17:01

 © Protesters on Wednesday 29 June , 2022 (twitter #AriseGhana )
Protesters on Wednesday 29 June , 2022 (twitter #AriseGhana )

Hundreds of Ghanaians took to the streets of central Accra on Tuesday and Wednesday, clashing with police as they protested against the rocketing price of fuel and food and what they see as the government’s inaction on the crisis. Authorities are currently searching for the leaders of the protest, though there’s much discussion as to whether police or protestors started the violence.

Ghana police say they arrested 29 demonstrators on Tuesday and report that 12 of their officers were injured in the clashes which they blamed on demonstrators throwing stones at them.

Arise Ghana (#AriseGhanaProtest), which organised the protests, is supported by the opposition activists including the National Democratic Congress’s (NDC) Sammy Gyamfi and former chairman of the People’s National Convention Bernard Mornah. Gyamfi is close to the NDC’s probable presidential candidate John Mahama.

Arise said its supporters were protesting against worsening economic conditions – inflation is running at over 20% in Ghana and a third of people under 30 are unemployed – as well as the new levies imposed by the government.

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On Tuesday, protestors gathered at 8 am at Obra Spot at the busy Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra. Clad in red and black, they sang and chanted, wielding placards demanding the government should “Fix Ghana now!” and “Reduce fuel prices now”.

Additional demands

Other demands covered by the protestors focused on the delayed payment of allowances to the beneficiaries of youth employment programmes, frequent foreign trips by the president, and controversial declassification of the Achimota forest among others were their messages.

A day earlier, Arise Ghana, lost its case in court over its right to hold the protests deep into the night and converge at the seat of government, the Jubilee House in the centre of Accra.

The court ordered the protest should end by 4pm on Tuesday at Independence Square, an area where the police thought that they could secure.

A last-minute move by the protest leaders to take a different route for the demonstration through other streets in the capital was resisted by the police.

What followed next was the sound of gunshots as some angry protestors pelted the police with stones. Then the police fired tear gas and water cannons at the protestors leaving scores of them injured.

Police report that 12 of its officers were hit with stones “without any provocation” and some of its vehicles were also destroyed in the melée.

“The police have arrested 29 demonstrators for their participation in violent attacks on the Police… The organisers of the demonstration will be arrested and put before court for the attacks and damage to public property,” the police said in a statement.