Ghana ALERT: Police manhandle RTI protestors

Police personnel in Accra on February 2, 2011 scuttled a plan picketing by members of the Right to Information (RTI) Coalition at Ghana’s Parliament House to register their displeasure about undue delay of the law makers to pass the bill into law, which was laid in 2009.

The RTI Bill went through the first reading on February 5, 2010, it is now before the Joint Communication and Legal Committee of parliament and the Committee is expected to conduct a nationwide consultative meeting, but the coalition says the bill is not on the agenda of this session of the house which ends in June, 2011.

About 200 RTI protesters had defied a police order to reschedule the protest as it coincided with a national assignment to be launched by President John Atta Mills and thefore could not ensure the safety of the protesters.

According Nana Oye Lithur, executive director of Human Rights Advocacy Centre, and a leading member of the protestors, the reason given by the police was not tenable, so they decided to go on with the protest.

After long negotiations, the police decided to allow ten of the group’s leaders to send their petition to House. The organizers refused on the grounds that the House was a public place and therefore the offer was discriminatory against the group. One of the superior officers ordered his men to “charge” at the group. The police then indiscriminately manhandled some of them

The group, including some physically challenged persons was assaulted. Some of the physically challenged persons were pushed off their wheel chairs onto the ground.

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