AN ACCRA High Court has altered the timelines and routes of an intended demonstration by a group calling itself ‘Arise Ghana’.
The court said the group could demonstrate anytime between 8am and 4pm today.
The group had notified the police about their intension to organise a two-day nonstop demonstration from June 28, 2022, through the night and end at 5pm on June 29, 2022, and also picket in front of the Jubilee House during the night.
But the police turned down the request citing security reasons as well as public safety, taking into consideration instabilities in neighbouring countries.
Following a series of meetings, Arise Ghana informed the police in a letter dated June 8, 2022, that instead of two continuous days, the demonstration will start on the first day at 3pm and end at 10pm and resume the next day.
The police, in a letter dated June 13, 2022, responded and urged that in order to adequately ensure the safety of demonstrators and other members of the public, the demonstration should not travel into the night.
But the group and the police were unable to agree on the timelines and route of the demonstration, hence the police filed an application before the court to make a determination on the matter.
The police in its supplementary affidavit suggested that if the demonstrators were inclined to embark on the demonstration, then it should commence at 10am and end at 3pm on June 28, 2022.
Moving the application, DSP Sylvester Asare made reference to reports of terrorism in neighbouring Togo and indicated that the timelines proposed by the organisers will not favour policing and also endangers public safety.
Godwin Edudzi Tameklo, counsel for the group, in response argued that the police do not have power to determine the start time, closure time or duration of any demonstration in the country.
He accused the police of acting in bad faith and going against its arrangement with the group which rescinded its decision to demonstrate for 48 hours and agreed to instead end at 3pm on day one and at 5pm on day two.
The court, presided over by Justice Comfort Tasiame, in balancing the public safety and the right to demonstrate, partially granted the application and ordered that the demonstration can commence at 8am and end at 4pm on June 28, 2022.
The demonstrators are to converge at Obra Spot at Circle and route through TUC and end at the Independence Square where a representative of the President or any person designated is to receive the group’s petition on his behalf.
“Respondents are to make sure they comply with the Public Order Act,” the court ordered.
Meanwhile, the police in a statement said it has contacted the organisers of the demonstration and “reiterated our commitment to provide the necessary protection for the demonstration in line with the court’s ruling.”
BY Gibril Abdul Razak