Everything we know about the #OccupyJulorbiHouse protests

Ghanaians are demonstrating the countries socioeconomic woes—to government pushback.

Back in 2009, John Evans Atta Mills, assigned September 21st a statutory holiday in Ghana. The now late president designated the day to celebrate Kwame Nkrumah, one of the nations founding fathers. Amidst a series of long-standing economical and social challenges in the nation, the civil activist group Democracy Hub slated this year’s date for nationwide protests against high cost of living crisis, abuse of power and serial allegations of brazen corruption by government officials, as well as recurring issues regarding press freedom violations.

As hundreds of Ghanian’s took to the streets, others utilised their social media presence to spread the word of the protests and raise awareness against the countries callous governance with #OccupyJulorBiHouse. Ghanaian sports Journalist, Gary Al-Smith shares, “The hashtag is a play on Occupy and Jubilee House (Ghana’s seat of government). Julor Bi is a Ga (language of the people of Accra, Ghana’s capital) phrase meaning ‘Child of a Thief’, a loose reference to the ruling Executive, who the people believe have negligently driven the country into a mess.”

On Tuesday, September 19, Democracy Hub held a press conference to inform members of the public the necessary measures being adopted to ensure their safety and success of the demonstration. The protest schedule planned to hold for a three-day period at Jubilee House and the organisers all logistical arrangements had been made for any protesters who planned on camping outside the government office. The following day, the police made attempts to foil all plans made towards the peaceful protest with an issued statement claiming they received a court order to cancel the demonstration.

Signed by the Juliana Obeng, the press release read, “As we wait for the court to determine the matter, we wish to urge the public to take note and disregard any calls from any individuals or groups encouraging them to assemble for demonstration at the Jubilee House.” The statement concluded with a direct address to Democracy Hub, “We equally wish to urge the organisers to respect the due process in the interest of public order and public safety.”


Nonetheless, protesters gathered peacefully at the seat of government the next day in a bid to hold the government accountable for their actions, only to be met by aggressive police resistance. As participants voiced their grievances regarding several injustices and the hardships faced by Ghanaians on a daily basis, reports share that the police arrested 49 protesters to be held at the Accra Regional Command Barracks. The arrested parties include any onlookers dressed in black and red—colours associated with anti-government—whether or not they’re participating in the protest. Several journalists, including two from BBC were also detained and have since been discharged. 

A new police report titled ‘POLICE ARREST 49 SUSPECTS FOR UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLY AND VIOLATION OF PUBLIC ORDER ACT’ claimed the arrested protesters were guilty of “the flagrant disregard of a court process.” As a result, many participants took to social media to flag the arrest as an infringement of several constitutional human rights. To this, the Ghanaian police service explain that they’re not opposed to any peaceful demonstration however, “The exception, in this case, is the Police disagreement with the organisers on the venue, the Jubilee house, being a security zone.”

According to NPR, spokespersons of President Akufo-Addo claimed the country’s economic woes are a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They explain that the aforementioned has contributed to rising inflation in several countries around the world. However, the protests have been a long time coming since the government’s mismanagement of fund. Many protesters sight the 17th financial rescue from the International Monetary Fund after signing a $3 billion bailout loan back in may. Other share their dissatisfaction with unpopular and widely irrelevant expenses as the new, 5,000-capacity national cathedral, commissioned by the government with a cost of over $400 million.


You can share this news post or any other related information about the protests on your social media accounts with the #OccupyJulorBiHouse. Also, share any resources that may be helpful to concerned parties.

[Featured Image Credits/The NATIVE]