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Neo
11th March 2011, 09:16 PM
Police on Friday arrested five members of the concerned teachers association, accusing them of being riotous.

The teachers, demonstrating over salary distortions in the single spine salary structure at the premises of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) Hall, had vowed to follow their leaders to the Ministry of Education to present a petition to the sector minister.

But the police insisted only the leaders of the demonstration would be allowed to send the petition to the minister - maintaining that was a procedure they had agreed the day before.

Chief Inspector Oklu told the media they could not guarantee the safety of the people and property, more so, when the teachers had rebelled against their leaders and had become riotous.

He alleged some of the teachers pelted the police with stones living the police no choice but to fire tear gas and to effect the arrest of five of the teachers. The five have since been released.

Denial

But the teachers have denied the claims by the police. Ernest Opoku, one of the leaders of the demonstration said the attack by the police was unprovoked.

According to him, his colleagues had refused to allow only the leaders of the demonstration to proceed to the ministry but pledged to peacefully march along to the ministry for the leaders to present the petition.

He said it was during the peaceful march that the police begun firing tear gas. He dismissed allegations that they were riotous with some hurling stones at the police.

He said the action by the police will strain relations between teachers and the government.

‘Brute power’

The teachers accused the police of over reacting. They alleged the police fired rubber bullets and tear gas into a peaceful crowd of demonstrating teachers.

Two of the five teachers who were arrested but later released told Myjoyoyonline.com the police used brute force against the teachers for daring to compare salaries police receive to that of teachers.

This allegation was partly confirmed by a police man who insisted the work of the police was too risky for the teachers to compare their salaries to theirs. He said the police sacrifice their sleep to arrest armed robbers in the night for which reason the teachers should not expect to have equal pay with the police.

But a group of angry teachers shouted in unison that they also burn the midnight candle to research and teach students for them to become police personnel.

It is not clear what effect this new teacher-police conflict will have on the on-going negotiations between the teachers and government.



Source: myjoyonline.com