By Nathaniel Nartey
Facebook: Nathaniel Nartey Twitter: @Annertey_Nartey
An intended presentation of a petition by members of the #Fix The Country Movement, to Parliament on November 26, 2021 was aborted after Police barred them from entering the premises.
The standoff between the demonstrators and the Police lasted for hours, a situation which prompted the leadership of the House to come out of the Chamber to intervene. The protestors accused the Police of not honouring an earlier agreement to allow the demonstrators entry into the premises of Parliament to present their petition and observe proceedings in the House.
They were not happy the Forecourt of the State House was being used to host a funeral service, while protestors were denied entry into Parliament.
Meanwhile, the Police have refuted claims there was an agreement to allow the protestors entry into the premises of Parliament.
Nathaniel Nartey monitored proceedings at the main entrance of Parliament and reports that the demonstration which started from the Tema Station and ended at Parliament House was unlike typical protests where the demonstrators carried placards with all kinds of inscriptions.
GBC News did not notice any of such placards; rather, the demonstrators mostly in red, hoisted flags with the symbol of the fist in red and black backgrounds, indicating the presence of the Economic Fighters League.
Also present were the Unemployed Graduates Network and others who together formed the Fix The Country Movement.
The march was peaceful until the protestors arrived at the main entrance of Parliament, where they were met with resistance from the Police.
” Commander, how can you deny us entry when others are having a funeral service within the premises (Of Parliament) this is not fair, we will not leave this place until we are allowed entry. We agreed that if we are less than 500 in number, you will allow us entry. Why have you decided otherwise?” they questioned.
In an uncoordinated manner, they began chanting war songs and the national anthem. The agitations continued for almost an hour after which the Police tried to engage Leaders of the protestors, but to no avail.
“Either you give us five of your Leaders for us to take them to the Chamber or we call the Clerk of Parliament to come and receive the petition here. We cannot force you because we are brothers , so please comply”
The Police denied claims that the service had agreements with the demonstrators to allow them entry into the premises of Parliament.
”The Police did not have any agreement with them because this is not the Police Headquarters, this is Parliament House and they have their own rules and security provisions”.
The standoff continued as Leaders of Parliament were forced to intervene. Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu and Majority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu met the group at the entrance and negotiated with them for 45 minutes before finally arriving at a compromise.
The group refused to allow the agreed number of members present to handover the petition on behalf of the rest despite reaching a compromise. They say they will pitch camp at the main entrance of Parliament until they were all allowed to present the petition together.
Why Unemployed Graduates Network joined protest
Meanwhile, the Unemployed Graduates Network has explained that it joined the Fix the Country Movement to demonstrate against approval of the Budget.
According to the group, the Agyenkwa Budget which is expected to impose taxes such as the E-Levy will bring more hardship. President of the Unemployed Graduates Network Selorm Dramado, called on Parliament to reject the budget.
“Our thoughts on the budget is that the budget does not inspire hope and confidence among the suffering, the Ghanaian youth, so once a group of Ghanaians have the courage to organise a demonstration today, to press home the demands for the budget to be rejected, it is only right that we associate ourselves with them”.
He went on to say that, ”the E-Levy is the thrust of the demonstration and we reject it”, according to President of the Unemployed Graduates Network, Selorm Dzramado, who spoke with Nathaniel Nartey during the demonstration.