The Agona Swedru Magistrate Court on Tuesday, remanded into police custody, 30 drivers and their mates who demonstrated for close to eight hours at Swedru destroying toll booths and misconducting themselves, over the bad state of roads in the Agona West Municipality.
The 30 whose pleas were not taken were charged with rioting and causing damage and would re-appear in Court on Wednesday, November 20.
Prosecuting, Police Inspector Clare Salia told the court presided over by Mr. Isaac Apeatu that on Monday, November 4, irate Swedru commercial drivers who had earlier notified the Police to demonstrate and it had been agreed with the leadership of the drivers union, routes for the demonstration in Swedru, but failed to comply and went on rampage and blocked major roads during the protest.
The prosecution said the angry drivers numbering about 1,500 used iron bars, cement blocks, pieces of woods and burnt lorry tyres to block four major routes leading to Agona Swedru.
Police Inspector Salia said the drivers destroyed both private and government billboards and proceeded to the Ghana Co-operative Transport Union Office and caused damages to the offices in protest of their members not joining the demonstration. She said they also damaged toll booths at Agona Swedru /Agona Asafo, Agona Swedru /Gomoa Ekwamkrom and Gomoa Aboso/Agona Swedru and other adjoining towns.
He said the drivers extended the riots to Gomoa Aboso, Gomoa Akropong and Ekwamkrom, even though they did not notify the Police there but burnt lorry tyres and blocked the Gomoa Afransi/Agona Swedru town roads and beat up travellers and some pedestrians on sight.
Inspector Salia said the Gomoa Divisional and the Swedru District Police command had to call in reinforcement from Winneba, Cape Coast, Agona Nyakrom and Apam to enable them to bring the situation under control.
The Prosecution said the police were pelted with stones by the demonstrators and in the process, some Officers were injured in their attempts to calm them down to use the approved route to Agona West Assembly to present their petition to the Municipal Chief Executive.
According to the Prosecution, the Police managed to apprehend the 30 who are now in court.