February 28, 1948: Gold Coast ex-servicemen shot during protest for pension benefits


British version of events from the Hansard:


Mr. T. Reid

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he has any statement to make on the disorders at Accra in the Gold Coast on 28th and 29th February.

§Mr. Rees-Williams 

I have been asked to reply. Rioting occurred in Accra on the afternoon of 28th February. A parade organised by the ex-Service men's Union, which is not recognised by the Gold Coast Legion, got out of hand while it was proceeding to present a petition to senior officers of the Secretariat and Labour Department. The procession was to follow a route agreed with the Commissioner of Police and was then to disperse. But in contravention of the agreed arrangement the procession, reinforced by other elements, attempted to march on Christiansborg Castle, the residence of the Governor. No request had been made by the Union to see the Governor and the procession was in very ugly temper, many taking part being drunk. Two attempts by the police to divert or stop them failed, and after two police officers had been injured shots had to be fired. One rioter was killed and one wounded. Simultaneously, rioting took place on a large scale in the town and considerable damage to business premises in the town was caused, one main shopping street being looted and gutted. Military forces were called in to assist and at one stage it was necessary to use firearms. By midnight the town was under control. Further rioting started in the town at dawn and two volleys were fired by the military with no casualties. The Governor has imposed a curfew in certain parts of Accra and has made regulations to control traffic and close roads. Military reinforcements have now arrived and all necessary steps taken to safeguard the population. The latest report received indicates that the town is much quieter.