Thursday, September 29, 2011

US Embassy Used Ghana Police to Arrest Pan-African Demonstrators

Protester's report: U.S. embassy used Ghana Police to violently arrest us in Qathafi Victory March

Posted: 2011/09/28
From: Mathaba

Every Ghanaian and every African must be in an organization working to remove the neo-colonialists from their land.

by Akili Mosi

The constitution of Ghana in Chapter five Article 21 section 1(d) it states: "All persons shall have the right of freedom of assembly including freedom to take part in processions and demonstrations."

This can be interpreted to mean that the power of demonstrations resides in the right of the Ghanaian people. As long as Ghanaians, who exercise this right and power, follow the Public Order Act 491 of 1994 the people shall maintain this right and power.

The US/NATO Hands off Libya! Hands off Africa! coalition embarked upon a peaceful demonstration, whose theme was "Qathafi Victory March" on 21st September 2011, at approximately 11:00 am in honour of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s 102nd birthday. The Ghana Police Service stationed at the Regional Police Headquarters, Accra headed by Commander Rosie Atinga Biyuu illegally disrupted and stopped the demonstration.

The Coalition made up of Ghanaian progressive and revolutionary organizations had their rights and power usurped at the behest of US neo-colonialist interest and influence in Ghana to the detriment of the constitutional rights of Ghanaian citizens.

On Monday 3rd September 2011, the US/NATO Hands off Libya! Hands off Africa! coalition delivered a public notice to the police, as required by law, to demonstrate by marching from Kwame Nkrumah Circle to the United States Embassy—the largest US embassy in Africa.

At this point on Thursday, 6th September 2011 our coalition was called by the police on telephone and requested to meet with the Regional commander, of the Accra Police Service. Inside this meeting Rosie Atinga Biyuu informed the US/NATO Hands off Libya! Hands off Africa! coalition they could not demonstrate on that day because there would not be enough police officers available, and moreover the area where the U.S. embassy is located "belongs to America, and it is called Little America."

Rosie Atinga Biyuu also stated that, "I and other officers went into the U.S. embassy, and they told us they did not want your coalition of demonstrators near their embassy." Upon further discussion she added: "No one will be there to receive your petition, and if you want to demonstrate on another day with a different route to another place, the U.S. embassy would send someone to receive your petition."

As the discussion continued Rosie Atinga Biyuu stated: "Don't challenge me, and if you decide to go there you will be met with sniper fire and bullets!"

N.B.: the US/NATO Hands off Libya! Hands off Africa! coalition's public notice never requested to deliver a petition to the U.S. embassy, nor did we, by exercising our constitutional rights, ask to be shot!

After being told we would have to change the date and destination, the coalition members went back and discussed the issue with their organizations, and decided to resubmit another public notice on Monday, 10th September 2011. Since we were not given anything in writing to prevent us from demonstrating, we stated the demonstration would continue at the same date and time, with the same route, thus having the same target of the U.S. embassy to express our opposition to the U.S. NATO bombing, invasion and war waged against Libya.

Our coalition was called on telephone by the Ghana Police Service on Thursday, 15th September 2011 and was requested to come to the police station to take a letter dated 12th September 2011 in response to our second public notice to demonstrate on 21st September 2011. The Coalition was able to obtain the letter on Friday, 16th September 2011, and our Coalition members (who went to receive the letter) were reminded verbally by the Ghana Police Service not to go near the U.S. embassy.

The letter stipulated:

1.We have therefore deployed all resources available to us for the event. Besides there are other operational exigencies that day of which we are committed to provide security.
2.The Accra Regional Police Command would therefore not be able to provide you with the needed security during your intended demonstration stated for 21st September 2011.
3.The command therefore requests you to respectfully postpone your intended demonstration to a later date.
4.In accordance with sect: 1 sub sect 5 of the Public Order Act 1994 (Act 491) you are requested to notify the police in writing within 48 hours of your willingness to comply with the directives in paragraph 3 above.

The US/NATO Hands off Libya! Hands off Africa! coalition, because of the significance of the day being Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s birthday, decided not to comply. The decision was taken while being fully aware of the consequences, valuing the pros and cons and for the following reasons:

1.The power and right of demonstration resides in the hands of Ghanaian citizens as outlined in the 1992 constitution of Ghana.
2.The Public Order Act 1994 (Act 491) sect 6 and 7 states:
(6) Where the organizers 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 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 orders as he considers to be reasonably required in the interest of defense, public order, public safety, public health, the running of essential services or to prevent violation of rights and freedom of other persons.

This meant, since our demonstration was peaceful, and did not violate any of the interests of the people of Ghana as stated in subsection (7) of the Public Order Act 491, the US/NATO Hands off Libya! Hands off Africa! coalition was legally within its rights to continue with its planning of the demonstration because we had not received a court order to prohibit the citizens of Ghana from demonstrating.

On 21st September 2011, as we set off on the demonstration, there was still no sign of the Ghana Police Service, nor were we made aware of a court order to prohibit the demonstration; making the demonstration legal.

However, in the middle of the demonstration at the Ghana Broadcasting Company station two vehicles of the Ghana Police Service drove in front of the demonstrators and spoke to one of the marchers. The demonstration of people continued on, and after about 100 metres several police vehicles stopped in front of the demonstration and presented a court order dated 16th March 2011, signed by H/H patience Mills Tetteh (Mrs.) Circuit Judge, which stated:

"It is hereby ordered that the organization calling itself US/NATO HANDS OFF and HANDS OFF AFRICA COALITION are hereby prohibited from demonstrating on 21st September, 2011. It is further ordered that the intended demonstration could come on at a later date when police have been notified."

Aside from the incorrect spelling of the Coalition's name, the contradictions and the abuse of Ghanaian citizen’s rights are clear. If the US/NATO Hands off Libya! Hands off Africa! coalition received a phone call on 15th September and the written police response to the coalition’s notification on the 16th of September 2011, requesting the Coalition to comply with a change of date (the police letter is dated 12th September and no phone call was made until 15th September to the Coalition), why would the court order a prohibition on the same date, not allowing the Coalition to exercise its constitutional right based on the Public Order Act 491/94 to comply in 48 hours.

Secondly, why did the police withhold the court order for five days without informing the Coalition that an injunction on the demonstration had been issued?

Thirdly, why wouldn’t the police issue a court order to prohibit the demonstration at the beginning of the march to prevent any violence, as opposed to in the middle of the march—if they were interested in public order, public safety, public health, the running of essential services or to prevent violation of rights and freedom of other persons [and all Ghanaians including the demonstrators].

Fourthly, why wasn’t the US/NATO Hands off Libya! Hands off Africa! coalition allowed to redress the court to express their opinion with regard to the change of date and minutiae of the demonstration? Fifthly, since the demonstration discontinued their march at the point of being issued a court order prohibiting the demonstration, why were they arrested?

This illustrates that Ghana Police Service harboured ill feelings toward the demonstration with the intent of inflicting violence and bodily harm on Ghanaian citizens during the legal demonstration. The evidence was displayed during the arrest of the demonstrators when three armoured vehicles with 20 to 30 police officers with riot gear armed with guns and tear gas guns passed by as demonstrators were being beaten, shoved to the ground, placards were roughly removed from the demonstrators hands and electric tasers were used to seize and destroy video equipment and film (particularly one E-TV cameraman who was tasered repeatedly and his genitals were also violently abused by the police to destroy his film of the purported court order being presented half way during the legal demonstration but dated five days prior) and to demobilize some of the demonstrators.

There was also three Pajeros (suv) filled with police officers who drove in a straight line with the armoured vehicles that were ready and poised for violence as 24 demonstrators were illegally arrested whisked away through the streets of Accra, with sirens blasting, to the Regional Command Police Office of Accra.

This evidence of over 100 police riding in vehicles passing by the demonstrators ready to inflict violence on a peaceful demonstration, debunks the lie of the Regional Command Police Office who stated there were not enough police to provide security and protect the constitutional right of Ghanaian citizens to demonstrate.

The demonstrators were unlawfully detained for almost two days at the Regional Headquarters of the Accra Police and the Bureau of National investigations (BNI)—stripped searched thrown into mosquito infested prison cells, with no light and made to sleep on the floor on a thinly sponge mattress.

The other contradiction, which makes the injustice abundantly and crystal clear, is that the Regional Command Police Service of Accra was intent on violating the constitutional rights to demonstrate with what’s stated in the court order in that "the intended demonstration could come on at a later date when police have been notified."

This was impossible because the court order was served in the middle of the demonstration which left no time for the US/NATO Hands off Libya! Hands off Africa! coalition to notify the police of a later date. This was a miscarriage of justice and an US embassy induced abortion of the rights of Ghana’s citizens.

The injustices of the police actions are clear, but the underlying reasons for their actions are just as revealing, so far as Ghanaian citizens constitutional rights are concerned. The Regional Commander met with US diplomats inside their embassy, who made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that they forbid any demonstrators from coming near their embassy.

The U.S. is the neo-colonial power in Ghana who has large investments in the gold, oil and diamond industries—the U.S. imports billions of dollars of finished products and machinery into Ghana. The U.S. and European capitalist class determine the price of cocoa on the international market. Ghana is in debt to US controlled financial institutions (International Monetary Fund and World Bank)—these institutions also determine the value of the cedi—Ghana’s currency.

The government of Ghana has signed military agreements with US Africa Command (Africom) in which the US uses Ghana’s air force base as an exercise reception facility to train Ghanaian troops and other troops in West Africa. The U.S. has an Oil Hub Initiative for the US military to protect its oil interest in Ghana, and Ghanaian military officers are trained in the School of the America’s in the United States. The U.S. also has a program in which it gives grants to the government of Ghana to purchase its weapons.

Since the demonstration was a "Qathafi Victory March" in support of the Libyan Jamahiriya against the U.S. NATO invasion and bombing of Libya, in opposition to the Ghanaian government’s recognition of the National Transitional Council (NTC), who are mostly made up of CIA trained Al-Qaeda terrorist mercenaries, and stopping the ethnic genocide and illegal imprisoning of Ghanaians in Libya and other black Africans by the NTC, the U.S. exerted its power and influence over the Ghanaian Police Service by threatening sniper fire and bullets against Ghanaian citizens.

They may have also used bribe or a conditioned willingness; in all cases the economic interest of the U.S. was made dominant over the constitutional rights of Ghanaians citizens. This is similar to the U.S. oil company Kosmo’s illegal sale of its oil shares to Exxon Mobile and release of information about Ghana’s oil discoveries which were also violations of Ghana’s law.

This demonstrates that the struggle against U.S. NATO bombing of Libya to steal their oil, and the Ghanaian masses opposition to U.S. imposed neo-colonialism which is stealing their oil and gold, is one and the same. In the final analysis, however, the U.S. oil and gold interest in Ghana, America’s drive for Libya’s oil, and recognition of the CIA trained Al-Qaeda terrorist mercenaries of the NTC is what made the government of Ghana tow the US line of violence and forced repression of lawful decent, in opposition to the constitutional right of the citizens to peaceful demonstration and freedom of expression.

The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) is on the U.S. State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organization as of 2004, and Abdel Hakim Belhadj, the founder of LIFG is the Tripoli Military Commander for security of the NTC. The LIFG fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the early 1990s along side of Al-Qaeda and was supported and trained by the CIA. They came back to Libya and fought armed clashes with Qathafi security forces, attempted to overthrow the Jamahiriya, and tried to assassinate Qathafi on several occasions.

LIFG merged with Al-Qaeda in November 3, 2007. In 2007 the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in their West Point Analysts statistical study of Al-Qaeda records revealed that Libya provided more foreign terrorist fighters in per capita than any other country.

Further evidence shows from cables of wikileaks of the U.S. State Department to its embassy in Tripoli in 2008 entitled “Extremism in Eastern Libya” that anti-American terrorist were rife in this part of Libya. These are the forces that make up the NTC that the Ghanaian government has recognized as the government of Libya.

The NTC may one day send Al Qaeda and LIFG trained terrorists disguised as diplomats to Ghana to recruit Ghanaians with money to terrorize the country with bombings; endangering the security of Ghana (this is a danger throughout Africa).

When the government of Ghana recognizes an undemocratic terrorist government in Libya (NTC) that is committing ethnic genocide against Ghanaians and other black Africans just to please its U.S. masters, and is willing to usurp the constitutional rights of its own citizens in Ghana which undermines democracy, we may ask, are we actually free with sovereignty, or are we a foot stool of America’s foreign policy? Oagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah stated: "The independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked with the total liberation of Africa."

Are we a nation of laws whose priority is the protection, security, and safety of its own citizens, or are we a vassal nation fashioned to protect the profits and interests of U.S. imperialism?

Until these questions are answered there will remain "Dark Days in Ghana". Unless we mobilize and organize to remove US neo-colonialism from Ghana and fight to uphold Africa's last remaining Pan-Africanist and socialist government in Libya (the living embodiment of an Nkrumahist state) our problems will continue.

For Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah states: "organization decides everything." Every Ghanaian and every African must be in an organization working to remove the vestiges of U.S. and European neo-colonialism from our land, so as to bring in existence an All African Union Government under socialism!

US/NATO Hands off Libya! Hands off Africa! coalition organizations include:

Ghana Muslim Students Association – Islamic University College Ghana (GMSA)
All African People’s Revolutionary Party (AAPRP)
Nation of Islam (NOI)
Pan African Improvement Organization (PANIO)
Progressive Movement for Change (PMC)
Coalition Against Foreign Intervention In Africa (CAFIA)
Pan African Youth Movement (PAYMO)
Muslim Youth for Positive Change

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