The second day of ‘Arise Ghana’ protest yesterday witnessed another obvious attempt to cause violence, and throw the nation into disarray, as the National Organiser of the NDC, Joshua Akamba, was spotted with a gun at the El-Wak Stadium, where the protest started.
According to a public notice by the Ghana Police Service, Mr Akamba was advised to put the weapon away after his attention was drawn to the illegality associated with such act.
Another man, identified as Yusif, who allegedly claimed to be a former National Security operative, and is mostly seen in the company of Haruna Iddrisu, Minority Leader, was also spotted with a gun.
He was arrested, gun retrieved and sent to police custody for further probe.
Our checks confirmed that after the engagement with the Police, Joshua Akamba surrendered his gun before proceeding to march with the protesters.
Police reports also said the demonstrators had planned to use of catapult during the demonstration.
“Police intelligence indicates that some demonstrators are going around acquiring catapults with the intention of using them during the demonstration,” the Police said before the event.
Meanwhile, the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has described the development as “an obvious attempt to create instability in the country”.
“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 in a media interview.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah further noted that but for the interventions by the Police, the protests could have landed the country in a state of insecurity, considering the manner in which the Arise Ghana demonstrators behaved on Tuesday.
“This 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 quizzed.
In what could be seen as obvious attempts to create commotion, the protestors on Tuesday rather decided to provoke the police by pelting them with stones, burning tyres, diverting to unapproved routes and being a nuisance to road users, in the hope that police brutalities would happen and make the news.
Under attack, the Police were compelled to deploy tear gas and hot water-canons to control the rowdy protestors.
A statement from the Police said twelve personnel sustained injuries from the attacks by the protestors, while they arrested some of the protesters for their involvement in the mayhem.
Security analyst, Dr. Adam Bonaa, described the unfortunate event as “an appalling scene” that should not have happened.
He said the protesters could have carried out the demonstration without any attacks on the Police.
“This compelled the police to discharge tear gas and rubber bullets because their lives were under threat. Although the demonstration was okay, the manner it was carried out by the leadership of the group was unfortunate. I hoped that the protest would have been gently done, but it didn’t. The Police was willing to provide protection for any lawful demonstration in the country; the nature of this demonstration was inconsistent with the Public Order Act,” he said.
Marching from the El-Wak Sports Stadium to the Ministries yesterday, the protestors presented a petition to the Finance Ministry and Parliament demanding action to address the current increasing cost of living.
Receiving the petition at the Finance Ministry, Deputy Finance Minister, Abena Osei-Opare assured that the government was working to address their concerns.
Mrs Osei-Opare also reiterated the government’s stance that the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the coronavirus pandemic had contributed to Ghana’s economic struggles.
She said the government had started meeting with stakeholders “to see how best we can address the economic situation that has arisen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the War Ukraine war.”
At the Parliament, the petition was received by the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu. “We have noted the concerns that you raised, including matters relating to taxes and reclassification of the Achimota forests,” he said.