The minority caucus has said it is "appalled that the Ghana Police Service is increasingly seen to be lending itself to a regime of terror and tyranny that is being meted out to critics of this intolerant Akufo-Addo/Bawumia New Patriotic Party government".
A statement signed by Minority Leader Cassiel Ato Forson condemned the "terror" unleashed on #OccupyJulorbiHouse protesters by the "terror squad" of the Police Service.
The caucus condemned the arrest and brutal assault of protesters and journalists by police officers.
The Police Service has denied the accusations of assault but the Minority Caucus said its alleged brutality is at variance with its motto.
"We condemn, in no uncertain terms, the police officers’ ruthless and barbaric crackdown on the unarmed peaceful protesters", the caucus said.
It added: "For a police service that is badly and widely criticised for its partisan policing methods in recent years, and for which a parliamentary probe is currently ongoing, the 16th-century style crackdown and terror unleashed by them on the peaceful protesters in Accra yesterday further dims the reputation of the Ghana Police Service".
Read the Minority Caucus' full statement below:
MINORITY IN PARLIAMENT CONDEMNS POLICE BRUTALITIES AND ARREST OF PEACEFUL PROTESTORS, DEMANDS THEIR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.
The Minority in Parliament is outraged at and disappointed in the Ghana Police Service for unleashing a terror squad of police officers who on Thursday shamefully brutalised and arrested peaceful protesters in Accra.
It is shocking and unacceptable that in 2023 officers of the Ghana Police Service would resort to backward and archaic policing methods to counter peaceful protesters who were only manifesting their lawful and constitutionally-guaranteed right.
We condemn in no uncertain terms the police officers’ ruthless and barbaric crackdown on the unarmed peaceful protesters.
For a police service that is badly and widely criticised for its partisan policing methods in recent years, and for which a parliamentary probe is currently ongoing, the 16th-century style crackdown and terror unleashed by them on the peaceful protesters in Accra yesterday further dims the reputation of the Ghana Police Service.
Even more shocking is the fact that the heinous and high-handedness of the police is inconsistent with its motto of Service with Integrity.
Reports say as many as 49 unarmed civilians have been arrested and detained in various police cells in Accra while several others were brutalised and manhandled by officers of the Ghana Police Service.
Even journalists who were carrying out their lawful duties were reportedly beaten and arrested by the police.
This is unacceptable and undemocratic.
Never has there been a time in our recent democratic experience that a government would be this intolerant of divergent views and the right to publicly protest, and the sad events of Thursday represent a new low on this slippery path.
It cannot be accepted that when citizens decide to express their right to protest, the police frustrates and scuttles the processes leading to the peaceful protest or where the protesters remain resolute by holding the protest, the police brutally cracks down on them.
The Minority is appalled that the Ghana Police Service is increasingly seen to be lending itself to a regime of terror and tyranny that is being meted out to critics of this intolerant Akufo-Addo/Bawumia New Patriotic Party government.
How can the Ghana Police justify its actions today by stating that they were as a result of “the flagrant disregard of the court process served on the organisers” of the demonstration?
Since when has the Ghana Police Service been clothed with the authority to punish people who disregard a lawful court order, assuming there was any such order?
The courts are clothed with powers to deal with those who disobey its lawful orders.
The Ghana Police Service, therefore, cannot usurp the role of the courts.
We hold the view that the right to freely protest and civil liberties are under a great threat from the Ghana Police Service which has decided to usurp the authority of the courts and act as law unto itself.
The Minority further takes great exception to the new-found penchant of the Police to designate public places such as the premises of the Jubilee House and other state institutions as so-called “security zone”, when these very institutions hosted similar protests in times past.
This is an obvious attempt by the Police to shield public officials from
accountability and same shall be fiercely resisted.
The Minority hereby demands the immediate and unconditional release of all protesters who have been arrested.
As efforts are underway to free all those who have been unlawfully detained by the Police, we wish to assure the leaders of the protest, all protesters and their families that the Minority firmly stands with them. Our national anthem enjoins us to resist oppressors rule and that we will do!
Finally, we wish to remind the police and the Akufo-Addo/ Bawumia government that no amount of intimidation can stop the people of Ghana from holding the feet of appointees and duty bearers to the fire of accountability, and they must brace themselves for more civic action.
We shall remain citizens and not spectators!
HON. CASSIEL ATO FORSON, MP
ND SEPTEMBER, 2023