The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has reacted to the arrest of some persons during the #OccupyJulorbiHouse demonstration that commenced on Thursday, September 21, and ended on Saturday 23.
The NCCE indicated that it was within the right of the organisers, Democracy Hub, to stage the protest and must be recognised as a fundamental right of the many who poured onto the streets on the days of the protest.
NCCE in a statement indicated that nothing could justify the arrests and the “alleged heavy-handed and excessive response by the personnel of the Ghana Police Service.”
“The NCCE wishes to remind all stakeholders that “freedom of assembly including freedom to take part in processions and demonstrations” is a fundamental human right. There is absolutely no justification for the alleged heavy-handed and excessive response by the personnel of the Ghana Police Service on the demonstrators. Indeed, it is unfortunate that after thirty years of constitutional democracy, the Police Service often appears to have difficulty responding to basic crowd control challenges, and all too frequently resorts to heavy-handed tactics.”
The protesters were demanding a range of reforms, including a reduction in the cost of living, an end to corruption, and improved governance.
The police had attempted to obtain a court injunction to ban the protest, but the protesters defied the attempts and marched to the Jubilee House which attracted a series of arrests that were made on Thursday, September 21.
The NCCE urged Ghanaians to respect the rule of law during protests and called for a unification of the various facets of Ghanaian society to ensure peace during protests.
“That said, NCCE also reminds citizens that fundamental human rights are not absolute; demonstrations, processions and other expressions of citizens’ discontent must happen within the confines of the law.
“The Commission reiterates the need for all Ghanaians, including the Executive, the Legislature, the Judiciary, state institutions, and political parties, civic society organisations, the clergy to unite and work together to help consolidate and preserve Ghana’s democracy in order to bequeath to posterity, a democracy better than what we inherited.”