"Burning Of Tyres, Pelting Stones At Police Is Not Demonstration Rather, Riot" – Antwi-Danso
The Dean of the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC), Dr Vladimir Antwi-Danso, has said that Ghanaians have not been able to distinguish between demonstration and rioting.
He stated that people in Ghana normally confuse demonstration to be rioting hence, resort to burning of tyres and pelting of stones at security officer assigned to protect them.
Speaking on News 360 on TV3 Tuesday, June 28 in relation to the violence that characterized the first day of the demonstration by members of the Arise Ghana pressure group, he said “we must also understand that demonstration is demonstration, rioting is rioting. Rioting can even escalate into something else.
“So when people are demonstrating, the leadership must understand the psychology of demonstrations. When you are demonstrating, the Police will do nothing against you but when it turns into rioting, burning tyres in the streets, pelting Police with missiles, it is no longer demonstration, it is riot.
“Unfortunately in Ghana, let us be honest with ourselves, as soon as we say we are going to demonstrate, then it is riot rather, even student demonstration is rioting. We have not been able to distinguish between rioting and demonstration, that has always been the problem.”
The Police announced that 12 officers have been injured during the demonstration by members of the Arise Ghana pressure group on Tuesday, June 28.
The injured officers have been transferred to the Police hospital in Accra for further treatment.
“Some Police vehicles have also been damaged,” the Police said in a statement.
The Police further described the development as shameful.
“What a shame, we were there to protect you and ensure your safety, but you throw stones at us, injure and hurt us. This behaviour is unacceptable and must be condemned.”
But a leader of the group, Sammy Gyamfi dismissed claims that members threw stones at the Police during the demonstration.
He described the persons who exhibited that conduct as agent provocateurs who were planted in their midst by the Police.
They are agent provocateurs planted in their midst by the Police, these are not members of the Arise Ghana. We arrested them and gave them to the Police.
“We did not go there with sticks, we did not go there with stones, we went there with our voice to protest against the obnoxious e-levy which amounts to thievery.
He added “our hands are clean, our conscience are clean, we believe in what we are doing.”
Sammy Gyamfi further accused the Police of embarking on Public Relations (PR) gimmick to brand the demonstrators as violent citizens.
“If you look at the statement being issued by the Police on their social media handles, you can clearly see through the PR gimmicks being mounted by the Police.
“PR gimmick intended to brand Arise Ghana as violent citizens of this country. They described us as rioting demonstrators. No one who intends to embark on a riot will give the Police the Police 20 days notice to embark on a riot,” the National Communications Officer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) said.