Unfortunately, the demonstration by the citizenry culminated in the use of extreme force against them by the Buffalo Unit of the Ashanti Region Police, otherwise, referred to as SWAT Unit of Kumasi.
Mr Speaker, the Police in the area who had earlier been notified of the intended demonstration were protecting the demonstrators until their counterparts from Kumasi arrived at the scene and started firing rubber bullets and other ammunitions. In addition, they also used tear gas.
Mr Speaker, in the ensuing melee, about 60 people were injured while many were traumatised. Several of the injured were hospitalised while others were treated and discharged.
Mr Speaker, the demonstrators were within their constitutional right to demonstrate and did not breach any law since they gave the required statutory notice to the police and the police agreed to the date.
Mr Speaker, a spokesperson for the police has subsequent to the incident stated that the police intended to quench the burning tyres that had blocked the road. If indeed, the police intended to quench the fire from the burning of tyres by the demonstrators, they should have
used water cannons instead of tear gas, rubber bullets and ammunition.
Mr Speaker, what is most unacceptable and must be condemned was when the police in their persuit of fleeing demonstrators attacked a cluster of schools where some of the demonstrators had taken refuge. Not even the pleadings from the teachers could calm the police in their quest to teach the demonstrators a lesson. This resulted in the pupils running helter-skelter and some children collapsed from the effect of the tear gas in particular.
As of today, as I speak, less than 40 per cent of the pupils have returned to the school -- This is because they are traumatised.
Mr Speaker, some of the demonstrators were chased to the Chief's palace. The 90 year old Chief of Kenyasi is severely traumatized as a result. May I call on the Inspector-General of Police (I.G.P.) to investigate this matter with the intent to bringing any perpetrator of the extremities to book.
Mr Speaker, while we all commend the efforts of the police in curbing crime, especially recent incidents of armed robberies, a glow of extreme force against defenseless citizens should not be countenanced.
Mr Speaker, it is not the best when the police adopt brute force when dealing with innocent citizens who do not mean any harm but rather seek to draw the attention of authorities to the deplorable nature of their road which has been a source of worry for some time.
Mr Speaker, the people of Kenyasi do not deserve this and that is why I call on the I.G.P. to act immediately to stop the police from engaging in such commissions anywhere else.
While wishing all those residents and the police who were injured a speedy recovery, it is important to state Mr Speaker, that nothing justifies the use of brute force by the police when dealing with unarmed innocent citizens as happened at Kenyasi especially when the people do not mean any harm but rather seek to draw the attention of authorities to their plight.
Mr Speaker, on behalf of the people of Kenyasi and Kwabre East, may I reiterate my request for a speedy investigation into this rather unfortunate incident at Kenyasi.