Police fire tear gas to break up demonstration of fishermen

The Police on Tuesday fired tear gas and sprayed hot water to break up a large crowd of marine canoe fishermen on demonstration to present a petition to President John Atta Mills at the Castle in Accra.

The demonstration started from Mantse Agbonaa through the principal streets of Accra to the Castle Junction where they were stopped by a joint Police-Military team.

The police said as part of their duty to maintain law and order they appealed to the demonstrators to allow their executive to present the petition to the President but this fell on deaf ears.

Two demonstrators were injured while others ran for their dear lives.

About 1,000 fishermen from fishing communities including Chorkor, James Town, La and Nungua all in the Greater Accra Metropolis took part in the event, singing and calling on the President to come to their aid.

Some held placards with inscriptions like “Hon Kwesi Ahwoi, please enforce the fisheries regulations to the letter,” “President Atta Mills, aka Nana Kwegyir, your people are dying, fulfil your campaign promise,” “Our children cannot go to school, because no fish, no money, President Atta Mills, what are you doing about this?”

They said some individuals were using illegal fishing methods which should not be encouraged.

They also alleged that the Ministry of Food and Agriculture was aware of most of the challenges they faced in the industry but how to implement the measure to stop them was the problem.

Meanwhile, the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council (GNCFC), on Tuesday appealed to government to dissolve the National Premix Commission set up to oversee the distribution of premix to fishermen as it had failed to execute its duties appropriately.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra, Nii Abeo Kyerekuandah IV, Executive Director, GNCFC, blamed the inability of some fishermen in the country to have access to premix on the Commission’s inability to adequately distribute the fuel to all fishermen.

He also blamed the Commission for its inability to stop the district, municipal and metropolitan chief executives from selling the premix to fishermen thus making it difficult for all fishermen to have access to fuel.

He noted that the fishing industry had been plagued by a lot of challenges such as pair trawling and light fishing and blamed the Police Service and the Ghana Navy for their inability to effectively combat such practices.

Nii Abeo Kyerekuandah accused the Ministry of Agriculture and the Fisheries Commission of turning a blind eye to the challenges faced by fishermen in the country after persistent appeals to them.

Source: GNA

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