Friday, June 01, 2007

from the "tear gas and stones for breakfast" dept.

Friday morning I accompanied two Skyy reporters to a disturbance near the Takoradi Polytechnic school. When we arrived, tear gas hung in the air and rocks and rubber bullets were bouncing all around us. I quickly fired up my video camera and started rolling.

Hundreds of students, many wearing red -- a traditional show of displeasure -- were engaged in clashes with police clad in riot gear.

The students are protesting a decision last week by the school to give the heave-ho to 71 students for various offences ranging from poor performance to rape. The principal said he was disgusted with what he saw as a degredation of morals and acedemic performance at the school.


Thursday night, students were calling for the head of the principal.

“From today, we are boycotting all academic activities on campus. I want all students to comply with us. No examination is taking place until the principal goes away,” a student organizer said.

Examinations were scheduled for Friday.

With that,the stage was set for confrontations. They began last night and continued through this morning. Students throwing rocks, police responding with tear gas and rubber bullets.

Some of the tear gas canisters landed in the yards of private homes and in a women's residence. We were in one home when it came under attack. Shooting the scene from the roof, the students turned on me and began hurling rocks. I ducked inside as a canister of tear gas exploded outside, the gas forcing us to run from the house.

My eyes burned and chest tightened as I ran for safety. A number of people handed me wet rags breathe through. Tear gas sucks.

We captured more of the mayhem from a distance and then made our way back to SKYY. Other cameras and reporters remained on scene.

Back at SKYY, our morning show was still on the air on both TV and radio. Footage captured earlier in the morning showed police hunting down students and pulling them out of private homes. Many were beaten for no reason. A true case of police brutality.

The disturbances continue as I write this (Friday, 11 a.m. GMT). MORE HERE.

But be assured, despite the tear gas, I am safe and sound. Cough, cough.

Stay tuned!


No comments: