28 November 2012

Ghana: Police Brutalize Demonstrating Students

The credibility of the Ghana Police Service in managing crowd violence has once again been put to question after the security agency pounced on the demonstrating students of St. Joseph Training College at Bechem in Brong-Ahafo region, who were protesting over nonpayment of their allowances.

The students were singing and dancing, insisting that they would boycott the morning mass and normal classes till their grievances were addressed by the concerned authorities.

To their surprise, however, the police invaded the campus and without any provocation from the students, started brutalizing them, amidst firing of tear gas and warning shots, thereby injuring several of the students.

One of the students, Ishmael Hassan was arrested, tortured and dragged on the ground into a police vehicle. The peace officers, after realizing that the student had fallen into coma, quickly rushed him to Bechem Government Hospital and were later transferred to Dua Yaw Nkwanta Hospital for specialist attention.

According to the students, their demonstration was peaceful and that the police acted unprofessionally in their quest to manage the situation.

Some of the tutors who spoke to reporters supported the stance of the students, insisting that the demonstration was peaceful and they did not understand why the police have to use brute force.

According to him, the firing of the tear gas did not affect the students alone but they (tutors) and their families.

An attempt to speak to the Principal of the College, Madam Cecilia Quansah proved futile because according to the students and tutors she was taken away by the police during the incident, without speaking to anybody.

The teachers disclosed that most parents who heard the news about the incident were calling at the school to ascertain the reality, but because there was no official briefing from the management of the college, they have little to say.

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