The Accra Regional Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Afia Tenge has disclosed that leader of the Economic Fighters’ League, Ernesto Yeboah will be processed before an Accra Circuit Court on Wednesday, June 10, 2020.
Speaking exclusively to ABC News, DSP Tenge indicated that Mr. Yeboah will be arraigned before the Court for breaching the public order act.
“Ernesto was arrested for breaching the public order act in organizing a demonstration. So today we are going for allocation docket and we will state that he is put before the court and the police continue to conduct investigations into what exactly happened.”
“If you notify the police, ideally the Police will have to give you security as we have always done. What engagement went on, were they there on that day with any Police protection because, in any demonstration, it is not that the Police just comes there, the police is there to protect VIPs who are likely to attend, you the organizers, and even people who are there for that particular demonstration so the police has an array of responsibility at any demonstration so how come they notified the Police and the Police did not come and protect you? It means there was a missing link somewhere,” she told ABC News.
The Economic Fighters League has however indicated that they notified the Police on their intended vigil in support of the Black Lives Matter movement across the globe.
Speaking to ABC News, Fighter-General, Hardy Yakubu described the treatment of the Police therefore as unfair and a breach of their rights as citizens since the vigil was organized according to the law.
But responding to these allegations, Mrs. Tenge explained that notifying the Police about an intention to hold any special event does not mean an end in itself.
Per the law, she said once the Police is notified but they have a reasonable ground to believe that the special event if held may lead to “violence or endanger public defense, public order, among others, the Police may request the organizers to postpone that special event to any other date or to the relocate the special event.
According to her, all the processes under the Public Order Act were not followed through and therefore the Police cannot be held liable for preventing the vigil from taking place as scheduled.
Below are the details of Section 1 of the Public Order Act 1994 (ACT 491)
(1) Any person who desires to hold any special event within the meaning of this Act in any public place shall notify the police of his intention not less than 5 days before the date of the special event.
(2) The notification shall be in writing and signed by or on behalf of the organizers of the special event and shall specify—
(a) the place and hour of the special event,(b) the nature of the special event;(c) the time of commencement;(d) the proposed route and destination if any; and(e) proposed time of closure of the event.
(3) The notification shall be submitted to a police officer, not below the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police or other police officer responsible for the nearest police station to the location of the proposed special event.
(4) Where a police officer notified of a special event under subsection (1) has reasonable grounds to believe that the special event if held may lead to violence or endanger public defence, public order, public safety, public health or the running of essential services or violate the rights and freedoms of other persons, he may request the organisers to postpone the special event to any other date or to the relocate the special event.
(5) An organiser requested under subsection (4) to postpone or relocate the holding of a special ever shall within forty-eight hours of the request, notify the police officer in writing of his willingness to comply.
(6) Where the organisers refuse to comply with the request under subsection (4) or fail to notify the police officer in accordance with subsection (5), the police officer may apply to any judge or a chairman of a Tribunal for an order to prohibit the holding of the special event on the proposed date or at the proposed location.
(7) The judge or chairman may make such order as he considers to be reasonably required in the interest of defence, public order, public safety, public health, the running of essential services or to prevent violation of the rights and freedoms of other persons.