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Old Fadama residents run riot over demolition of Sodom & Gomorrah

• Some residents of Old Fadama demonstrating yesterday. Picture: EMMANUEL ASAMOAH ADDAI

Angry victims of last Saturday’s demolition exercise at Sodom & Gomorrah, a slum at Old Fadama in Accra, yesterday staged a five-hour chaotic demonstration at the State House and Agbogbloshie.

Numbering about 600 and dividing themselves into two groups, the irate demonstrators, whose homes were pulled down because of their closeness to the Korle Lagoon, took to the streets to register their displeasure at what they described as “a blatant attempt to evacuate them from the capital”.

Whereas the first group blocked some major roads in Accra, particularly the National Theatre road leading to the State House, the second group took captive of the entire stretch of the Agbogbloshie market road and its catchment areas.

Agbobloshie

At Agbobloshie, the angry residents used car tyres to set fire in the middle of the road to stop motorists and commuters from accessing it.
It was a race for survival as personnel of the Ghana Police Service, including the Director of Police Public Relations, Superintendent of Police Cephas Arthur, and some media men were chased with machetes, sticks and stones.

Traders, especially the onion and tomato sellers, had no option than to abandon their wares in pursuit of their safety.
Head porters, popularly called kayayei, some with their babies strapped to their backs and carrying goods, also took to their heels.
Many companies, including the Barclays and HFC banks at Agbogbloshie, were forced to shut down operations and lock up their buildings to protect their staff.

Some drivers had to abandon their vehicles in the middle of the road when they realised they had been trapped in the melee.
The angry residents took advantage of the situation, ransacked the vehicles and vandalised them.
It took the police about 25 minutes to call for reinforcement to contain the mob who had already taken over the entire Agbogbloshie market road.

The police, sensing danger at the Agbogbloshie Bridge, where the mob had gathered, fired tear gas to disperse them.
The tear gas made it extremely difficult for the mob to attack and this gave the police the advantage to break their ranks.
In the process, a number of the demonstrators were picked up by the police and sent to the Regional Police Command.

State House

When the demonstrators got to the State House, they were denied entry by the police.
Angered by this, the demonstrators uprooted flowers at the Parliament House and destroyed some flower pots.
The police also called for reinforcement to prevent the mob from gaining entry to the State House.
They held placards eulogising the New Patriotic Party (NPP) flag bearer, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo, and shouted “No Akufo-Addo, no vote in 2016”.

Others read, “Mahama, No Vote for you”, “It’s all because of Mahama” “Leave Us alone”, “Oko Accra is not for you” “We want our place back“ and “Life is hard in Accra, whose fault? Mahama”.