The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Alhassan has defended a decision to stop the Let My Vote Count Alliance group from staging a demonstration in the country.
The Police had secured an injunction to prevent the group from embarking on a demonstration yesterday [Tuesday].
Addressing the media at a press conference in Accra, the IGP said “the Police does not go to court to prevent anyone from exercising their right to demonstrate” but “sometimes, we do that given what trend analysis and assessment we have done.”
“Sometimes we need to organize ourselves. It takes resources, men, vehicles and equipment so that we can better police the demonstration. It has never been, and will never be the intention of Police to stop anyone from exercising their right to protest, but we need to get ourselves in readiness in order to be able to police it,” he added.
The Let My Vote Count Alliance embarked on a demonstration some weeks ago to demand a new voters register, but the peaceful protest turned violent when the Police tried to prevent them from using an unapproved route.
The group had decided to stage another protest in a bid to present a petition to the Electoral Commission, but the Police got a last-minute court injunction to stop the demonstration from taking place.
The Convener of the Let My Vote Count group, David Asante, has accused the Police of allowing themselves to be manipulated by political actors to frustrate their attempts to picket at the offices of the Electoral Commission (EC).
“The beauty of democracy is at play here. We are not really disturbed; when the court ruled in our favour, we said democracy had won. So if the same has been done for the Police, democracy has still won.”
He lamented that “what we rather find shocking is the fact that, in the ruling of Justice Esandoh who sat on the matter earlier in the day, he was emphatic that it was inappropriate for the Police to on the blind side of the demonstrators, secure an ex parte injunction; and he insisted that it will not be fair and proper for his court again to go ahead and issue such an injunction if the Police comes back through the back door.”
“It is interesting to realize that it is not the same judge who gave the new restraining order. What is the Police being manipulated to achieve? It is a big question Ghanaians are interested.”