Teshie Demo: Protesters must be civil in their demand
Hundreds of residents joined the protest which was generally peaceful
The people of Teshie have the right to demonstrate but the level of lawlessness exhibited on Tuesday during the ‘fix our roads’ demo in the area is despicable, to say the least.
Some protesters on the day, I observed, had blocked some roads compelling commercial drivers heading for Accra Central and other destinations to find alternative routes.
As if that was not enough, some young men who had packed themselves in 207 vehicles told commercial drivers not to park or pick passengers at specific locations in the area. I witnessed how at least two commercial drivers who were unaware of this “directive” had their tyres deflated by the young men who went on rampage.
The vehicle I boarded on my way to work that day managed to swerve the so-called ‘task force’ which was preventing commercial drivers from picking up passengers but just when we thought we were out of the ‘danger zone,’ a rickety vehicle from nowhere crossed our driver in an alley and before our driver could explain himself, one of the front tyres of our ‘vehicle’ had been deflated.
Another ‘trotro’ driver, following us closely, also had three of his car tyres deflated. Commuters, aboard either of the two vehicles, including myself, stood by the roadside and wasted at least 20 minutes while we watched our driver replace the tyres.
About 9 am on Wednesday morning, a similar incident happened on my way to work when another group of young men stopped our commercial driver for violating the “no parking” order by organisers of the protest. But this time, our driver intuitively sped off before the men attempted to deflate the tyres of the vehicle.
Unreasonably, the “taskforce” of about five men, wearing reflective jackets, chased our vehicle and attempted to push us off the road starting from the LEKMA road all the way to the Kpeshie Lagoon, where traffic had started building up.
Our driver and other passengers engaged in a heated exchange with the hooligans who insisted on effecting “arrest,” because he had picked a passenger at an “unapproved zone” at Teshie.
I did not follow them to see how it ended but the question on the lips of passengers, including myself, was how could a group of people arrogate powers to themselves just because they were protesting against some of the roads in bad shape in their locality?
We wondered who could have sanctioned the road blocks and the “no parking operation” to the extent that a supposed “taskforce” could decide to chase a commercial vehicle or driver and endanger the lives of passengers on board?
I am not too clear how long the protest by the residents is supposed to last but I wish to bring these unlawful incidents to the attention of authorities in the locality and reiterate that individuals or groups who lead the demonstration cannot act lawlessly even as they express their concerns.
The concerns may be legitimate but organisers must be civil in the protest. Commercial drivers who ply the route in Teshie must be allowed to go about their business in peace. It is illogical for what is supposed to be a peaceful protest be turned into “war” with commercial drivers.
Franklin Gyamfi Mensah