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23.02.2006 General News

Presidency did not meet with the Police - Agyepong


Accra, Feb. 23 GNA - Mr Kwabena Agyepong, Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesperson, has dismissed the assertion by the leaders of the "ROPAB Demonstrations" that there was a meeting between the Presidency and the Police to "teach the demonstrators some lesson".

"There was no such meeting. It is a false statement calculated to undermine the professional nature of the Police and to drag the Presidency into the mud", he said at a Castle briefing on Thursday.

A street protest on last Tuesday in Accra organised by the "Concerned Ghanaians", opposed to the passage of the Representation of the People Amendment Bill (ROPAB), turned violent when the protesters started burning vehicle tyres at the 28th February Crossroads. The Police moved in with their water cannon to put off the fire and this action irritated some of Demonstrators, who started to pelt the Police with stones. The Police then threw teargas canisters among them and charged on them beating some of them with their batons.

According to a release from Police Public Relations Directorate, Dr Kofi Kesse Manfo, a Deputy Inspector General of Police (IGP) and some other officers were hit by stones and sustained injuries.

Mr Agyepong said the role and duties of Organisers of demonstrations were clearly spelt out under the Public Order Act and that they should take responsibility for the lawlessness and other acts of violence.

"The Minority cannot stampede the rest of us to pander to their whims."

The Press Secretary said the State has a duty and responsibility to ensure order and protect the people and this it would never run away from, adding, "President John Agyekum Kufuor has a clear mandate to administer the country and this he would do".

Mr Agyepong said the Minority through their demonstrations were compelling the nation to incur huge expenditure in terms of Police Officers that were deployed to provide the demonstrators with protection.

He spoke of the need to allow goodwill and good sense to prevail, saying, "as a people we certainly must have divergent views but we must be tolerant and accommodating of each other".

Responding to threats of mayhem by some leading members of the Minority should the Bill be passed by Parliament, Mr Agyepong said the security agencies were well equipped to deal with such situations.