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22.02.2006 General News

NDC slams police in clashes with demonstrators

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Accra, Feb. 22, GNA - The National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Wednesday criticised the police for its reaction during Tuesday's demonstration against the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, which ended in clashes between demonstrators and the police Addressing an emergency press conference in Accra, Mr Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, NDC General-Secretary said they regretted the few acts of indiscretion that took place, but condemned the reaction of the police, which he described as "most unfortunate and unbecoming of a unit charged with keeping the public peace."

"One such incident, which was most disgusting was when the police pounced on a protestor who had gone to the rescue of another protestor whose leg had been intentionally run-over by a police vehicle," he said. Police and demonstrators clashed at the Castle Junction after the protestors started pelting the police with stones and the police fired tear gas canisters into the crowd.

The NDC scribe described as "most appalling" the attempt by the Regional Police Command to justify their action, which they have referred to as "the use of minimum force to respond to the minor incidents that could not be described as provocative by any stretch of imagination."

He explained that the party had cause to believe that there was a premeditated attempt on the part of the government and certain officers to use violence as a means of intimidation to scare away supporters of this and future demonstrations.

Mr. Asiedu-Nketia said it was regrettable that under the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, the police was gradually abandoning their constitutional duty of maintaining law and order. He consoled the injured and asked them to take it as their contribution to the freedom struggle from the "dictatorial NPP regime. "The leadership is fully behind you and millions of Ghanaians believe in the cause you are suffering for..."

On what they would do next, the NDC scribe said they were willing to continue in the streets until government withdrew the Bill. Dr Kwabena Adjei, NDC Chairman urged government to reconsider its position on the ROPA Bill, if it was a listening government, saying it was not in the interest of the people.

Four victims who said the police beat them recounted their stories and showed the press X-ray pictures of injuries they received and beatings from police.