Ahead of ‘#Occupy BoG Protest’ today: TUC,CHRAJ call on Police to be professional
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) have urged the Ghana Police Service to manage demonstrators professionally and in line with the Constitution.
While CHRAJ cautioned the police against using the Public Order Act,1994 (Act 471) as a pretext to stifle citizen’s freedom of assembly and right to protest as enshrined in the Constitution, the TUC urged the two parties (protestors and police) to exercise their rights without violating the provisions contained in the act.
The admonition from the TUC and CHRAJ relates to recent demonstrations in Accra where demonstrators were allegedly brutalized by the police.
There is also a growing perception that demonstrations are being stifled using the Public Order Act.
Today’s demonstration by the Minority in Parliament dubbed “#Occupy BoG Protest” is to back their demand for the immediate resignation of the Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr Ernest Addison and his two deputies.
The route for the demonstration is the Obra Spot at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle as the converging point through - Adabraka- Ridge Roundabout – National Theatre Traffic LightHigh Court Complex Traffic Light - Atta Mills Highway - U-Turn to the Independence Square.
The police,in a statement issued ahead of today’s protest said it would provide security for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and some Civil Society Organisations to embark on their demonstration against the BoG.
A statement signed by the Secretary General of the TUC,Dr Yaw Baah, was particularly focused on today’s demonstration against the leadership of the BOG by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The TUC urged the demonstrators and the organizers to be mindful of their responsibility to ensure that individuals not taking part in the demonstration were not denied the right to go about their normal lives.
“Demonstrators should, therefore, refrain from doing anything that will deny other people their rights to go about their normal duties.
We trust that with this understanding, we can exercise our rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly without jeopardizing the peace in our country,” the statement stressed.
A statement issued by CHRAJ in connection with protest, explained that even though the provision mandated the police to act as they saw fit in the interest of defense, public order, public safety, public health, the running of essential services or to prevent violation of the rights and freedoms of other persons, it did not permit them to restrict demonstrators on the eve of the protest from exercising their constitutional right.
It, therefore, stated that if there were to be restrictions in such a case, they had to be guided by the objective of facilitating the right to protest
as opposed to placing unnecessary and disproportionate limitations on it.
“Restrictions must not be discriminatory, impair the essence of the right, or be aimed at discouraging participation in peaceful assemblies, or undermining the purpose of the right,” it added.
It also said any restriction imposed on this right must be necessary and proportionate in the context of a society based on democracy, rule of law, political pluralism and human rights as opposed to merely being reasonable and expedient.