Ghana Police Must Respect, Protect and Fulfil Citizens’ Right to Demonstrate

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is shocked at the behaviour of some members of the Ghana Police Service who brutally assaulted demonstrators on September 16, 2015.

Led by members of pressure group, Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA), the protesters, who were demonstrating to demand that the Electoral Commission of Ghana compiles a new voters’ register, were said to have used unapproved routes.

Members of the police force who were on duty to ensure law and order, chased, arrested, tear-gassed and whipped some of the demonstrators. In the process, dozens of the demonstrators sustained injuries.

While we do not support demonstrators going against agreed police directives on routes to use, the police erred by resorting to such brutal crowd control measures.

We urge the Police Administration to thoroughly investigate the matter and punish the officers who took the law into their own hands and brutalised the unarmed protesters who were exercising their civil and human rights. We are also calling on the Ghana Police Service to, as a matter of urgency, enhance the capacity of the police with regard to acceptable crowd control measures, especially as Ghana prepares for the 2016 elections.

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