Last day of the ‘Chale Wote’ 2021 is in limbo after two organizers of the popular annual street art festival held at Jamestown in Accra were arrested yesterday by the Accra Central Police.
The arrest took place on the evening of Saturday, August 21, 2021, outside the Ussher Fort at Jamestown, whiles the event was taking place inside the fort.
Citinewsroom.com reports that one of the artists for this year’s event was also arrested but attempts to speak to the Police about the reason for the arrest have so far not been successful.
9 days ago, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), announced that the 2021 edition of ‘Chale Wote’ will be a virtual event due to the upsurge in COVID-19 cases.
However, organizers of the event have been unhappy about that decision. This year’s event was therefore not advertised as a virtual one, hence, artists and art lovers have been trooping the Chale Wote streets in Jamestown.
Nicholas Tetteh Wayo, an artist billed for the event spoke to citinewsroom.com, said yesterday the police officers who carried out the arrest outside the Usher fort, caused damage to some machines, and scattered items arranged by food vendors who were getting ready to cash in on the event.
“We were observing everything; we were in masks. If it [the arrest] is about covid, go to Makola and see what’s happening in Makola. It’s not about the COVID, there’s something fishy. They have their selfish interest, this is what I know, it’s not about the COVID” he stated.
Nicholas Tetteh Wayo told citinewsroom.com he does not believe the arrest has anything to do with COVID-19 safety protocols, alleging that something fishy is going on.
“There were a lot of people around when the arrest happened. You know, people enjoy coming to this festival; it’s fun. It was supposed to be virtual, but people want to come around, and they were coming. We were doing things inside the Ussher Fort, and not everyone got in, but some people were around doing some performances just to have fun”.
This year’s event started on Friday, 13th August, and is expected to end today 22nd August 2021. It is, however, unclear whether the arrest of the two organizers and the artist is in any way linked to the breach of COVID-19 protocols since a virtual event will still require a venue that will stream the event live.
This morning, an art blog affiliated with the event, posted the Chale Wote festival flyer with a new inscription on it that it has been canceled. However, the post has been deleted.
It, therefore appears like art lovers can still go take a stroll through the streets but nothing well organized may happen and the police could show up again if the event is going beyond what is expected.
‘Chale Wote’ Street Art Festival is a Ghanaian-originated platform that brings together art, music, dance, and performance unto the streets. This year’s edition of the festival marks ten (10) years of its existence since it was first launched in 2011 to promote the appreciation of diverse forms of art in Ghana.