Police crack down on pro-democracy protests in Ghana’s capital

Dozens of police in riot gear at Jubilee House protest in Accra, Ghana
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Protests rocked the Ghanaian capital of Accra on Thursday 21 September. Gathering near the presidential palace, known as Jubilee House, protesters called attention to corruption and mismanagement from president Nana Akufo-Addo and his government.

The demonstrations appear to have had a heavy police presence, with many protesters being arrested. Those demonstrating have decried the lack of democracy inherent in police arresting peaceful protesters.

Protest-blocking injunction

The protests were organised by an “Accra-based civil society group” known as Democracy Hub. They were timed to coincide with the birthday of Dr Kwame Nkrumah. Nkrumah became Ghana’s first president after leading the country to gain independence from British rule in 1957.

On 20 September, Ghanaian police force issued a press release saying they had filed an application against the protests. It stated:

As we wait for the court to determine the matter, we wish to urge the public to take note and disregard any calls from any individual or groups encouraging them to assemble for a demonstration at the Jubilee House,” the release said.

Ghanaian outlet Yen described the injunction as “last-minute legal attempts” from the police to stop the protests from going ahead.

Meanwhile, Democracy Hub released a statement in response, revealing that they hadn’t received notification of any such injunction.

Read on...

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In the statement, Democracy Hub said:

Our attention has been drawn to a last-minute press statement released by the Ghana Police Service claiming that they have filed an application to prohibit the lawful exercise of our rights to demonstrate.

We wish to put it on record that the Ghana Police Service has not served us with any application, and we are unaware of what exactly the police application is about.

We are appalled by the desperate and likely partisan attempts by the Police to disrupt peaceful and democratic mobilization for our upcoming Occupy Julorbi House picket.

The group also insisted that the protests will go ahead as planned:

We invite the general public to disregard a statement which is riddled with misinformation.

Our picket will proceed as planned.

The group also noted that the protests will allow Ghanaians to voice their opposition to “proposed military intervention in Niger as well as any other government policy decisions or initiatives”.


While the protests took place outside Jubilee House, organisers popularised the hashtag #OccupyJulorbiHouse. As one supporter explained:

Judging from the hashtag, the protests have received considerable support:

Predictably, however, a heavy police presence is visible from video footage of the protests:

This appears to be par for the course for police in Ghana, as they also arrested dozens of protesters at an ‘Arise Ghana’ demo in June 2022:

Rounding up protesters

Yen reported that police arrested “scores of demonstrators” on Thursday. Video footage shared on Twitter showed officers loading protesters onto a bus marked “Ghana Police”:

News channel TV3 Ghana shared video footage from arrested protester Osagyefo Oliver Barker-Vormawor, who broadcast live on Facebook from the police bus:

Barker-Vormawor said the arrests were unlawful, adding:

We don’t know where they are taking us…

They have no right to arrest demonstrators in the country. This is not the democracy we signed up for. This is not a democracy

He also said the government was weaponising the police to suppress demonstrators.

As one commenter noted:

The organisers also plan to demonstrate on Friday and Saturday, 22 and 23 September, at Jubilee House. They said at a press conference on 19 September that logistical arrangements were in place for protesters who would want to camp at the protest site over the three days.

Featured image via Twitter

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