General News of Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Source: citifmonline.com

Our protest was peaceful – Small scale miners challenge police

Despite the arrests and firing of tear gas during a protest by members of the Small-scale Miners Association in Kumasi, the association maintains that the protest was within the confines of the law.

Police had said the protesters breached the public order act as some of them were seen to be carrying “offensive implements.”

But speaking on Eyewitness News, a spokesperson for the small-scale miners, Francis Opoku, said the claim that there was some breach is quite unfortunate.

He said to the best of his knowledge, the protesting small-scale miners conducted themselves in “a perfect manner to the admiration of many.”

Mr. Opoku explained further that, protest technically did not come on as planned because, at the last minute, they were told by the demonstration could not come on.

“We were confined to a place, according to the information we gathered at the last minute. We were told, according to an order from above that we could not embark on the intended demonstration,” he recounted.

During this period, “I will tell you that none of our people were wielding anything deemed harmful,” Mr. Opoku reiterated.

Protest was still successful

Despite being constrained, Mr. Opoku described the small-scale miners’ protest as “the most successful intended demonstration.”

“We were able to communicate our issues and grievances to the people. What is the use of the demonstration; for the people to hear what we want to say and we have been able to communicate our information. And that is okay, whether we hit the streets or not.

The small-scale miners were protesting the continued ban on small-scale mining, insisting that the six-month duration has elapsed.

The government in April imposed the six-month ban on all forms of small scale mining activities as part of the fight against illegal mining.