The Ghana Police Service and the Inter-Party Coalition For National Sovereignty are in a standoff on the routes for the latter’s demonstration on Thursday, February 6.
Though the police have given permission for the demonstration, they have raised some “security” concerns about the routes the Coalition intends to use: the Obra Spot – Farisco traffic light – UTC –High Street- Ministry of Interior – Police Headquarters – Flagstaff House routes.
A letter from the Accra Regional Police Command on Tuesday, February 5, under the signature of Deputy Commissioner of Police Patrick Adusei Sarpong, acknowledges the letter of the Coalition to embark on a “protest march” but raised reservations about the routes.
“I write to officially inform you of this Command’s disapproval for the use of the proposed routes as stated in paragraph two of your letter,” DCOP Sarpong stated.
“For security reasons, you are therefore advised to adopt the traditional routes for demonstrations, that is Obra Spot, Circle, Kwame Nkrumah Avenue, Farisco traffic light, TUC, EOCO, Atta Mills High Street and end at Hearts of Oak Park as discussed with you and re-notify the Command for the needed assistance,” the letter continued.
But the Coalition in response to the Command expressed its disquiet about the development, alleging the move by the police is an attempt to “encroach our fundamental right to a peaceful procession without let or hindrance”.
Leader of the Coalition Bernard Monah, in a letter dated February 5, said the use of the term “traditional routes” in the letter from the police is not understandable and unable to be accepted.
He insisted that the Coalition is “unaware of any ‘traditional route’ in exercising one’s right to civic protest and for that matter any attempt by the Police to micro-manage our right to demonstration is unconstitutional”.
According to him, the same routes that the police have disapproved of, in their case, were used by other groups in the past for their demonstrations.
“Meanwhile, it is important to recall, that not only has the above-mentioned route been used in recent past by other political groups such as Let My Vote Count, OccupyGhana, the NPP and so on,” he said.
He further cautioned the Regional Police Command to be mindful of the choice of words used in addressing the Coalition, stating: “We do not operate under the direction of the Regional Commander or any Police Officer for that matter and will advice that the Commander desist from the use of such words”.