The protest organised to put pressure on the Electoral Commission to compile a new voters’ register for the 2016 elections turned bloody when the police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd.
“This is a terrible situation and one that should absolutely not have happened. Ghana is a nation of laws and a nation that respect the rule of law,” Mahama stated at a grand durbar of chiefs and people of Asogli Traditional Area in Ho to climax their annual Yam Festival.
Although the Ghana Police Service has justified their actions, Mahama said it was a dent on the democratic credentials of the country.
Mahama said: “A few days ago a most unfortunate incident happened in Accra… it is my understanding that at some point during the march the demonstrators veered from this legally permitted route. In an attempt to contain the crowd the police employed the use of tear gas and water cannons. Much to my regret I learnt that a few of the demonstrators were beaten and hurt and ensuing stamped occurred…
“In rare instances namely when there is a credible threat to the officers of the law or to members of the public the use of reasonable force by the police is justifiable. On such occasions the police are enjoined to strictly abide by the prescribed rules of engagement while ensuring the rights of citizens are not trampled upon.”
Mahama disclosed he has directed the police administration to probe the incident in order to review their modus operandi with regards to crowd control.
“I have held discussions with the police authority and urged the command to review the unfortunate event of last Wednesday in line with policies and procedures that officers are expected to follow in response to incidents of this sort. The basic rights of all citizens must be recognised and respected at all times,” the president opined.
Meanwhile, members of the LMVCA, who have served notice they will hit the streets again on Tuesday to press home the need for a new voters’ register, say they will sue the police for the brutalities meted out to them.