The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), has condemned the police brutality on protesters and journalists during the #OccupyJulorbiHouse protest on Thursday, September 21.
The police on Thursday forcibly removed 49 protestors from the 37 lorry park in Accra at the start of a scheduled three-day protests on the seat of government, confirming later it had arrested them for unlawful assembly and breach of the Public Order Act.
The police noted that the arrested persons disregarded court documents served on the organisers, Democracy Hub, to refrain from embarking on the planned demonstration
But UTAG in a press release dated September 22, noted that such abuse of power is extremely dangerous to our burgeoning democracy.
“We would like to remind the GPS that their unprofessional behaviour is an affront to, and has resulted in the violation of the rights of the demonstrators to freedoms of assembly, including the right to demonstrate in a peaceful manner, speech, association and movement, and their right to dignity guaranteed in the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
“These sacred rights and movement, among others, form the foundation upon which democracies are birthed and nurtured and democracies die when such rights, among others are curtailed,” portions of the statement indicated.
UTAG also condemned the tendency of the police to resort to court injunctions to prevent a constitutionally guaranteed right to expression.
According to the group, the police’s manner instead of carrying out its constitutional duty of protecting citizens “is extremely worrisome and unacceptable.”
In this regard, UTAG urged all parties involved to be circumspect in this matter to ensure that “we uphold the tenets of rule of law which is the foundation of all democracies.
They also called on the police and the justice system to be guided by the law in their discharge of duties.
Again, the group called on concerned citizens and stakeholders to condemn such acts of arbitrariness, brutalisation and perceived bias.
UTAG expressed its willingness to call for a national discourse on the issue to streamline police and judicial exercise of authority.
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