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High Court shoots down police injunction to stop #FixTheCountry demo

An Accra High Court has thrown out an application by the Ghana Police Service to prevent a street protest by the #FixTheCountry campaigners.

The court presided over by Justice Ruby Aryeetey struck out the application on Friday, June 25.

The court said the application was of no relevance because the date scheduled for the demonstration had passed.

“I am of the opinion that the planned demonstration is passed and therefore the application is moot,” she stated in her ruling.

The court further directed the campaigners to follow all laid down procedures to embark on any future protests.

The Attorney-General Godfred Yeboah Dame, who represented the state to argue out the case of the police, told the court to uphold the injunction due to Covid-19 restrictions.

He cited an Executive Instrument  (E.I.  37, impositions of COVID-19 restrictions), which bans crowds from gatherings.

He added that the demonstration was to be a political gathering.

But the counsel for the #FixTheCountry campaigners, Tata Kosi Foliba, argued that several political gatherings had been held despite the ban.

Supporting his colleague, Francis Ontoyin, also a lawyer for the organisers, said there had been large gatherings in the country in recent times. Therefore there was no need to stop them from demonstrating.

He particularly made reference to the funeral of the late Forestry Commission Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (Sir John), where hundreds attended, including government officials.

They also pointed to justification by the Ghana Health Service that political activities did not contribute to the COVID-19 spike just after the December 7, 2020 polls.

The police were in court after the Supreme Court had ruled against an earlier injunction on the demonstration.

The police held that the decision did not prevent them from issuing another restraining order.

According to the Public Relations Officer of the Accra Regional Police, DSP Effia Tenge, they were not interfering with the demonstration in contravention to the Supreme Court’s ruling but performing their duties.

Clash with protesters at the Accra High Court 

The court proceedings have not been without violence.

At the last sitting, personnel of the Ghana police were engaged in some clashes with #FixTheCountryNow protesters who had gone to the court for the hearing of the anti-demonstration injunction.

Over a dozen protesters stormed the court in #FixTheCountryNow shirts, placards and Ghana flags.

However, the police on duty prevented them from entering the premises of the high court with placards.

This led to a stand-off as videos circulating on social media showed one police in heated exchanges with a lady.

The court presided over by Justice Ruby Aryeetey was informed about the incident, and she subsequently directed the convenors who are the respondent in the case to come to the court individually.

Six of the #FixTheCountryNow convenors subsequently entered for the hearing.

They were: Samuel Alex Kudzordzie, Felicity Nelson, Bashiratu Kamal, Agyapong Foster, Darko Benjamin and Adakye Brownson.

After examining the case, the judge adjourned the case.

 

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