Police withdrew protection for Tamale protesters citing ‘inconvenience’

The Northern Regional Police Command has disclosed it did not provide protection for residents who demonstrated in Tamale Monday because of security reasons.

Regional Police spokesperson, Ebenezer Tetteh, said they advised the leadership of the protesters to reschedule their demonstration because of President John Mahama’s visit on that day and the airlifting of Hajj pilgrims but they were not heeded.

“We have the right to injunct the demonstration, but we wrote to the protesters asking them to either reschedule their demonstration or re-route the demonstration [hence] our decision to do what we did,” he told Joy News’ Evans Mensah, host of Top Story programme.

The Tamale Township was brought to a standstill when a coalition of opposition political parties mobilized their numbers to demonstrate against the hardships in the three regions of the North and in the country in general.

The demonstration dubbed “Di Mii Ya” translated as “Times are hard” was held at a period when President John Mahama was in the region campaign ahead of the 2016 general election.

Joy News’ Martina Bugri said the demonstration was nearly marred when the Chairman of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) marched some youth through the demonstrators.

There was no police presence on the scene and had it not been a sense of control exercised by the leadership of the demonstrators there could have been a clash, she said.

Ebenezer Tetteh said even though the police did not provide protection for the demonstrators, they positioned some of the personnel at vantage places in the Township.

“The police were there to direct traffic, and calm tension down, but there were no casualties,” he said.

But the Northern Regional Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Sule Salifu, says the excuse proffered by the police for the demonstration to be called off was flimsy.

They told us the President was coming to the region so we should call it off, he said, adding “when the Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA) demonstrated in Accra were they asked to call off their demonstration because the president was there?”

“We had an extensive discussion with the police and sign an undertaken that the demonstration will be peaceful and it was peaceful,” he said.

Commenting on the success of the demonstration, Mr Salifu, said it gave them the opportunity to “amplify the voices of the voiceless and we have made the whole world know that John Mahama has nothing good to offer Ghana.”

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