Hundreds of people, largely oppossion NDC members in Tamale, the Northern Regional Capital, on Saturday Marched in protest of the expansion of the defense cooperation deal between Ghana and the United States of America.
Protesters flooded the city’s business district, held placards with red and black attire, some wildly riding motorbikes, and beating drums, slamming the deal with the US with unrestrained rhetoric directed against the President, the Defense Minister and the ruling party.
Demonstrators marched towards the two local military bases in the region on the Tamale Bolga road, – Kamina Barracks occupied by the 6BN troops and Bawa Barracks occupied by the Airborne Forces, denouncing the expansion deal, saying it threatens the autonomy of Ghana. The protesters however did not march to the military bases.
“We are protesting because we don’t want American soldiers here. If Nana Addo respects Ghana army they should leave the army to maintain the country,” said Abdalai Akyire, a 60-year-old farmer.
“The Americans will bring gay people. Ghana would become like hell if the Americans come here so we don’t want them here,” he added.
The crowd size quadrupled the police officers that were deployed to protect the demonstration. Police were unarmed and senior officers followed the protest in vehicles. No incident recorded.
Under the deal approved weeks ago only by the majority in parliament, the United States will invest around $20 million in training and equipment for the Ghanaian military this year. The US in return, will be allowed to deploy troops and import military equipment tax free, use an airport runway and have free access to China’s radio spectrum.
The street protest dubbed #PutGhanaFirst was organized and spearheaded by opposition NDC figures including National Organizer aspirant, Solomon Nkansah and Deputy National Communication officer, Fred Agbanyo and regional executives of the party.
Demonstrators converged at the Jubilee Park at about 7am and picked up the placards before cramming in long vehicles and took off onto the streets, accompanied by loudspeaker vehicle.
Dozens of opposition NDC figures including the General Secretary, Aseidu Nketiah, Mr. Hudu Yahaya, an elder of the party attended the march.