Member of OcccupyGhana, Sydney Casely-Hayford has said that the Ghana Police Service is fond of brutalising of citizens, especially demonstrators when they are to protect them.
Speaking on the Big Issue Saturday, he said “the police seem to have this desire to brutalise. They seem to have an insatiable need to vent on society and when we go for periods of time where we don’t have any agitations and any demos, something seems to be affecting them psychologically…it’s like there’s this need, like an addiction for violence which they need to satiate as the days progress”.
Siding with the law students who embarked on a peaceful demonstration on Monday until it got nasty, Mr Casely-Hayford explained that demonstrators do not need to seek permission from the police service, adding that, it is about time the police ‘understand that they do not have that authority’ to stop demonstrations or call off a demonstration.
Sharing his view about the action taken by the students, Sydney Casely-Hayford said “you do not need permission in this country to demonstrate…he added that you give them 5 days notice, that’s what the law says…so they cannot just object on the day of the demonstration like they are doing now and say you cannot go this way, you cannot go that way, the police have no such authority”.
“And it’s time for them to understand that they do not have that authority and actually to upsurge that authority and brutalise the students, it is totally wrong”.
The police on October 7, 2019 fired rubber bullets at the students, sprayed them with water cannons as they marched towards the Jubilee House to petition President Akufo-Addo over the “restrictive” admission processes into the Ghana School of Law and to push for reforms in Ghana’s legal education system.
According to the Deputy Public Relations Officer of the Accra Regional Police Command, Inspector Kwabena Danso, the actions of the students triggered the police to act on that ‘standard procedure’.
In an interview with CitiFM, he said “they (students) made their intention to go to the Flagstaff House and we decided to stop them. It was not easy so we decided to disperse them based on that conduct. We have charged the arrested persons with breach to peace and unlawful demonstration and they are under investigations.”
The protest by the law students follows the latest massive failure recorded at the Ghana School of Law, as only 128 students out of 1,820, passed this year’s entrance exam.