Ghanaian actor and politician John Dumelo has expressed his disapproval of the arrest of about 50 protesters who participated in the #OccupyJulorbiHouse demonstration on Tuesday, September 21, 2023.
The demonstration, organized by the #FixtheCountry movement, aimed to demand a range of reforms, including a reduction in the cost of living, an end to corruption, and improved governance.
The police had filed an application for an injunction seeking to prohibit the protest from moving forth, citing security concerns and COVID-19 protocols. However, the organizers went ahead with the demonstration despite the warnings from the police.
According to eyewitnesses, some police were either in disguised clothing, in their everyday uniform or in riot control gear, while others were on horses, and in buses and pickups arresting protesters, who were mostly clad in black and red. Among those who were arrested were some prominent activists such as the #FixtheCountry convener, Oliver Barker Vormawor and journalist Bridget Otoo. They were taken to the regional police headquarters in Accra Central.
John Dumelo, National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary candidate for the Ayawaso West Wougon Constituency, took to his Twitter account to condemn the police’s action. He wrote:
“The arrest of the #OccupyJulorbiHouse protesters is uncalled for. Can’t citizens demonstrate in peace?”
John Dumelo is not the only public figure who has spoken out against the police’s interference. Several Ghanaians have expressed their disappointment and outrage at the police’s brutality on social media. Some have accused the police of being puppets of the ruling elite and of using illegal ways to disrupt the peaceful protest. Some have also questioned the police’s motive for using horses and riot control gear against unarmed civilians.
The #OccupyJulorbiHouse demonstration was part of a series of protests that have been organized by the #FixtheCountry movement since May 2023. The movement has been calling for better living conditions and accountability from the government. The movement has also faced several legal battles and obstacles from the authorities in their quest to exercise their constitutional right to protest.