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General News Fri, 7 May 2021

#FixTheCountry: Here are 3 other hashtags that triggered protests

Social media has become a convenient protest platform for people who are unable to hit the streets for some reason but want their voices heard by authorities.

It is not a phenomenon specific to Ghana but rather a global one that has been given prominence thanks to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

The case of Twitter is particularly prominent in rallying people to speak up and be heard, this they do via hashtags.

A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify digital content on a specific topic.

Ghana's ever-growing Twitter space has had some instances in the last few years that people have rallied around a particular hashtag to champion a cause.

GhanaWeb looks back at popular hashtags in the last few years.

#FixTheCountry movement

When Kaly Jay, a social media influencer and journalism school graduate tweeted the hashtag, #FixTheCountry, demanding better governance, little did he know that it will take Ghana's Twitter space by storm.

He told GhanaWeb TV in an interview that he believes that the commonality of concerns that he raised was behind the massive acceptance of the campaign which was due to transit to the streets in a May 9 protest.

The Ghana Police Service eventually secured a court injunction that forced protest organizers to consider postponing the protest.

#DumsorMustStop - May 2015

In May 2015, a march against rolling power blackouts in the then John Dramani Mahama-era took place in Accra, spearheaded by Yvonne Nelson, an actress, model, and beauty pageant contestant.

But before activists arrived on the streets, it took social media mobilization to raise awareness via the hashtag #DumsorMustStop on Twitter and other social media applications.

Eventually, it is believed largely that the protests contributed to the dwindling fortunes of the then National Democratic Congress government leading to Mahama's re-election defeat.

#BringBackOurTaadiGirls - January 2019

In early January 2019, a Twitter hashtag trended demanding the rescue of three young ladies abducted by a Nigerian in the Western Region.

#BringBackOurTaadiGirls was widely used especially on Twitter to demand that police take necessary action in a case that was reported over a month back.

All girls were reportedly kidnapped in Takoradi, capital of the oil-producing region. “Taadi” is a short form for Takoradi. Priscilla Mantebea Koranchie (15 years) was last seen on December 21, 2018.

But before her incident, another 18-year-old Ruth Love Quayson had been kidnapped on the 4th of December. The other victim Priscilla Blessing Bentum also went missing on 17th August 2018.

Fast forward to 2021, the remains of the girls were found in an abandoned manhole and a judge slapped death sentence on the convicted kidnappers and murderers earlier this year.

#DropThatChamber - July 2019

Ghana’s Parliament in July 2019 abandoned a planned project aimed at building a new chamber after public outrage over the matter lasted for about a week.

A cross-section of Ghanaians expressed anger on local media outlets and social media, using the hashtag #DropThatChamber, to protest the proposal estimated at $200 million.

The amount was amongst others, meant to expand the seating capacity of the facility to 350 seats at a time the parliament had 275 members.

The leadership of Parliament had struggled to contain the outrage amid the trending hashtag #DropThatChamber and calls for a “2 million march,” which was subsequently suspended.

Online protest movements and activism

What is sure is that, be it for good or not so good reasons, social media will continue to be a force for mobilization for different causes and as has been seen in the past few years an avenue for accountability demands.

Different people interpret the outcomes of these protests as they wish but for many experts in the online space, getting authorities to notice and to take action about an issue is always a win for activists.

The #FixTheCountry protest may remain an online movement for now but activists will be happy that government noticed and duly responded with the Vice-President addressing the protesters’ demands in a Facebook post.

Watch a discussion on #FixTheCountry from the 21st minute of the video below.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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