#Fixthecountry demo: IGP promises ‘maximum’ protection

The Ghana Police Service has assured the Economic Fighters League and #FixTheCountry convenors of protection for a scheduled demonstration on Wednesday, August 4.

The acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), George Akuffo Dampare, who assumed office on Sunday, August 1, is said to have invited the group to his office to assure them of his commitment personally.

The group, made up of mainly social media activists, confirmed the meeting with the IGP on their Facebook page.

The parties involved reviewed the routes for the march, which has been stalled due to court action and COVID-19 restrictions.

“We went over the routes earmarked for the protest from Obra spot (Circle) — Farisco Left — TUC — Kinbu Senior High School – Centre for National Culture – to Independence Square.

“We also explained that we have recruited and trained marshals who will be assigned to liaise with the police on anything and to guide the crowd. On COVID-19 protocols, the marshals will be in charge of making sure everybody wears their masks and maintaining distance,” the group indicated.

The hashtag #FixTheCountry has dominated news headlines for months.

A group of unhappy Ghanaians hopped on to the social media platform Twitter to vent their frustrations after inflation jacked up prices in goods and services.

These price hikes were coupled with frequent power cuts and an increment in taxes.

Other concerns highlighted included unemployment, a wobbly healthcare system, housing deficits, poor road networks, etc.

A demonstration was subsequently planned for May 9, but the Ghana Police Service secured an injunction against the congregation.

A judge in an Accra High Court ruled that public demonstrations contravened restrictions on public gatherings meant to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

 

Failure to abide by the set rule would amount to breaching the Public Order Act.

The convenors of the protest appealed the decision at the Supreme Court, which ruled that nothing bars the aggrieved youth from protesting.

“There is no breach of the rules of natural justice here. Order 95 Rule 1 says the High Court judge has jurisdiction over the case, but the order is temporal. As it stands now, there is no order for us to quash.

“There is no order preventing your clients (Protesters) from holding any demonstration. The law is clear that the injunction should last past 10 days. There is nothing restraining you, so what is your problem,” Justice Yaw Appau ruled.

But the police said the Supreme Court ruling did not also bar them from serving the conveners of the protest with a preventive notice.

“It is not now that the police is seeking a restraining order against the conveners. This case has been pending in court after the police filed an ex parte motion that restrained the conveners of #Fixthecountry from embarking on their demonstration. But because we went on an ex parte, for which the court granted an injunction, we have to go back to the court and, this time around, on notice. We hope to extend our restriction,” Public Relations Officer of the Accra Regional Police, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Effia Tenge, said.

She denied allegations that the police continue to interfere with the demonstration in contravention of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Earlier in June, Ghanaians in Spain also protested against the Akufo-Addo led government.

All these court hurdles are behind as the group look forward to the demonstration on Wednesday, August 4.

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