Actor and politician John Dumelo has voiced his strong condemnation of the arrest of Fix The Country convener, Oliver Barker-Vormawor, and several other protesters who participated in the #OccupyJulorBiHouse demonstration organized by the pressure group Democracy Hub. Dumelo, known for his activism and political engagement, took to social media to express his disapproval of the Ghana Police’s response to the peaceful demonstration.
On X (formerly Twitter), John Dumelo wrote: “The arrest of the #OccupyJulorbiHouse protestors is uncalled-for. Can’t citizens demonstrate in peace?”
The #OccupyJulorBiHouse protest, which unfolded on Thursday, September 21, 2023, has ignited a wave of public outrage and disappointment across Ghana. The demonstration, organized by Democracy Hub, aimed to draw attention to issues surrounding accountability and transparency in governance, particularly concerning the official residence of the Vice President, known as “Julor Bi House.”
However, the protest took an unexpected turn when it defied a police injunction, leading to a confrontation between law enforcement officers and demonstrators. The Ghana Police Service had filed an injunction application against the planned march the day before, explicitly urging the public not to participate and citing the protest’s illegality.
Despite the police’s injunction, Democracy Hub remained resolute in their stance, asserting that they had not received official notice of the injunction and, therefore, the protest would proceed as planned. This determination was evident as hundreds of concerned Ghanaians gathered at the 37 Trotro Station, the designated starting point for the march.
In the midst of this gathering, the Ghana Police arrested approximately 50 participants, including Oliver Barker-Vormawor, the #FixTheCountry convenor. This incident has sparked widespread public outcry and fueled discussions about the balance between citizens’ right to protest and the maintenance of law and order.
John Dumelo’s statement resonates with the concerns of many Ghanaians who are questioning the police’s actions and the suppression of peaceful demonstrations. The arrest of protesters has prompted calls for dialogue and a reevaluation of how protests are managed to protect both the rights of citizens and the need for public safety.
In the coming days, it remains to be seen how the situation unfolds and whether it will lead to a broader discussion on the fundamental right to peaceful assembly in Ghana. As citizens continue to engage in conversations both online and offline, it is clear that the issue of democratic freedoms and the role of law enforcement agencies will remain a focal point of public discourse.