Ghanaian Arrested For Protesting By First Lady
The arrest in Ghana of a student who staged a placard protest metres away from First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo has caused outrage on social media.
Reginald Sekyi-Brown held up the placard with the inscription #OpenUGMCnow, a reference to the University of Ghana Medical Centre, while the first lady was at a sod-cutting ceremony for the construction of a pediatric intensive care unit at a teaching hospital in Ghana’s capital Accra.
The OpenUGMCnow is a campaign about the failure of government to open the $217m (£163m) medical centre for public use because of an impasse between the university and the health ministry over who will manage the facility.
In a video circulating on social media, the student walks up to the podium while the first lady delivers a speech, catches her eye as she pauses briefly to look at his placard before continuing with her speech.
Moments later, the student campaigner was arrested and detained at Accra’s Korle-Bu police station.
Although no formal charges have been pressed, police and some government functionaries say his actions posed a security threat to the first lady, a claim most social media users have rubbished.
According to Accra Police Command spokeswoman Afia Tenge, the police “don’t need to see a person physically with a weapon before we whisk them away”.
She added that officers interrogated Mr Sekyi-Brown to find out who he was, what he was holding and whether he had any ulterior motives.
Mr Sekyi-Brown was granted bail yesterday evening and asked to report to the police again as investigations continue.
Ghanaians who want to use the University of Ghana Medical Centre have given the government until tomorrow to open it or face more protests.