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Police historically challenged in area of crowd, riot control – Prof. Aning

Police historically challenged in area of crowd, riot control - Prof. Aning

Professor Kwesi Aning, the Director of the Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research, Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, has stated that the Ghana Police Service suffers a chronic challenge with crowd and riot control.

The most recent challenge police faced with crowd and riot control was during Day 1 of the Arise Ghana demonstrations where they were forced to use tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters.

The Police have explained that officers took action after a section of the protesters pelted them with stones. The organizers have disputed that account stating that planted police personnel cast the stones that triggered the ‘attack.’

In an interview with TV3 on the incidents of June 28, Prof Aning stressed the need for continued training in crowd control for officers.

“The demonstrators themselves or the organizers probably, had a large portion of Ghana supporting them. What the average Ghanaian does not want in these expressions of political engagements relates to the violence because it can get out of hands, taking into consideration the frustrations might lead to something that we don’t want. But crowd control and riot control has been the single most consistent challenge to the Ghana Police service throughout its establishment,” he said.

He added: “Training and a focus on just one or two types particularly with their rather easy love affair with the use of tear gas , probably just one or two types, so they can master the mastery of using tear gas and water canons.

“But I think it is a matter of training because the demonstrations are going to continue, the population is going to grow, our population is growing so astronomically, our urban spaces expanding in such unplanned, disturbing rate that routine law enforcement is already a problem.”

Brief of what we know so far:

Police announced the arrest of 29 people in connection with violent incidents that marred the Arise Ghana demonstration at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle.

According to a statement dated June 28 and signed by Chief Superintendent Grace Ansah-Akrofi, Director of Public Affairs, the Police were also reviewing available footage with the view to making more arrests if need be.

“The Police have arrested 29 demonstrators for their participation in violent attacks on the Police and some members of the public including school children during the Arise Ghana demonstration in Accra…” the June 28, 2022 statement added.

The statement further disclosed that leaders of the protest will be arrested and arraigned for the attacks and damage to property according to provisions under relevant laws.

In an earlier statement, the Police said a dozen of its officers were injured in the clash and were receiving treatment at the Police Hospital.

A Zylofongh reporter observed that stones were thrown at the police by some irate supporters following which tear gas and rubber bullets were fired as police moved to thwart the change of route for the protests.

Water canon was also deployed as some protesters mounted road blocks by burning tyres in the middle of the road.

Arise Ghana, an amalgamation of groups and individuals organized the two-day protest to highlight the rising cost of living and issues of misgovernance.

Despite a court order relative to time and route of the protest, the leaders insisted on following a route other than the one ordered by the court, an insistence by the Police that they obey the agreed upon route resulted in the skirmishes.

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