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Protest: Age-old Bait

Ketu South Protest File photo

Fri, 15 Jan 2021 Source: Prosper Setsoafia, Contributor

It is better to protest than to accept injustice - Rosa Parks

Protests of any kind (Proletarian, republican, corporatist etc.) have been a potent tool that helps drives home justifiable demand(s). Even though classified as an inalienable right of the citizenry, the protest has not always been smooth as the expectations might be. Happenings concerning how criticisms are managed, ascertain society's inherent claim of not tolerant of criticism, especially against authority. In any way, docility to power is an acceptable behaviour, and it’s warmly applauded.

The police force always comes in handy against the usual docility to the era's authority, thereby swallowing the unforgiving bait of disrupting such protests. Majority of the protest ( colonial, post-colonial etc.) that sets a solid precedent to the current generation did not appear in any way to gain the sympathy of the general public because the organisers did a yeoman's job.

From infancy, Kweku Ananse or "Ayiyi" tales were implanted in our conscience. Kweku Ananse, in his wisdom, always triumphs even in the face of a “hostile” environment. Looking at "Protests" through the lenses of Ananse tales, a simple conclusion is drawn; to make your case(s) heard, you must find a means to create ‘legitimate’ crises and gain the necessary public sympathy.

Protests come handy in creating the acclaimed legitimate crisis. And most at times, the police force either willingly or unwillingly takes this bait of helping the messages of the "Protests" gain the necessary attention and sympathies. This attention depends on their professional or unprofessional handling of the Protesters.

How did the Protest march of the Civil Rights Movement gain attention and sympathies?

The Police and the Media ( ‘the right arm of anarchy’? ) are the primary ingredients of a successful protest.

The crisis created by the (Civil Right Movement) in the USA was captured by Bill Hudson on 3rd May 1963- ‘a photograph of a teenage boy being attacked by a police dog’. This photograph amplified the cry of the exponent of the Civil Right Movement. After all, nothing captured human interest like a human tragedy. That day's protest was a bait the Police Chief Eugene Connor took hook, line, and sinker.

Can all "Protests" be a bait?

The protests in Ghana might not be the same as that of the Civil Rights Movement Protest cited above, but they shared a bed; the Police Force's 'reaction'. The Police Force handling of Protests seems to be ‘selective’, which is not congruent with the Public Order Act. But even the Public Order Act appears to be a glorified ‘Whore’ with several contradictory interpretations.

Is Ernesto Yeboah still standing trial?

Columnist: Prosper Setsoafia, Contributor