In regards to the manner in which the police detained nonviolent demonstrators during Thursday’s Democracy Hub event, the National Peace Council (NPC) has expressed grave concern.
George Amoh, executive secretary of the National Peace Council, stated in an interview with Citi Prime News, which was monitored by 1Family Radio, that the arrest of peaceful protestors is detrimental to the nation’s democracy.
Mr. Amoh contends that the freedom to peacefully assembly is a fundamental human right and a cornerstone of a robust democracy.
The NPC urged the police to handle demonstrators with tolerance as well.
“Every Ghanaian has a right to demonstrate; it is a right that is enshrined in the constitution and has to be protected and jealously guarded,’’ he said.
“If there is a group that wants to demonstrate in support of an activity or disagree with a particular thing, I think the laws allow for that, and the authorities should ensure that such exercises are done within the remits of the law, and those also exercising those rights must also respect [the law], but it is unfortunate that yesterday didn’t go that way.’’
He furthered, “Some had to be arrested, which is not too healthy for our democracy. We need to create an environment for people to protest, both the institutions of the state, the police, and the citizens.’’
Mr. Amoh also urged the demonstrators to maintain their composure and refrain from violating the law.
Regardless of having a right to protest, he continued, the demonstrators must do it in a nonviolent and orderly manner.
“My advice is that they cannot use lawlessness to address perceived lawlessness, so if you have not been permitted by the same arrangement that gave you the right, you would have to exercise restraint. So if there is an injunction or your plan to go on demonstration has been curtailed by the same institution, then just don’t do it because if you do it, then you are also being unlawful.’’
“If you don’t do it tomorrow, there will be another time, so let us all respect the law for the sake of our democracy.’’
“If we allow small issues to divide us, then we are opening up for insurgents who are lurking around,’’ he added.