Thousands in Ghana march against deal with US military

Thousands in Ghana march against deal with US military

Thousands of protesters marched in the streets of Accra, Ghana, on Wednesday to protest a deal between the Trump administration and Ghana's government that would expand military cooperation.

The New York Times reported that thousands of marchers demanded an end to a deal struck last week between top Ghanaian officials and their American counterparts. The deal would have the U.S. invest $20 million into Ghana's military and greatly expand U.S. soldiers' authority on Ghanaian soil.

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U.S. troops would be given access to the country's radio frequencies and one airport runway, as well as have immunity and receive tax exemptions for military equipment imports, according to the Times.

Some of the provisions, like legal immunity, would be reciprocal for Ghanaian troops attending military training abroad in the U.S., embassy officials told the Times.

Despite this, protesters and the country's opposition party accused the ruling National Democratic Party of selling out Ghana's sovereignty. The controversy comes as the U.S. relationship with African allies is being tested after reports that President TrumpDonald John TrumpVeterans groups demand end to shutdown: 'Get your act together' Brown launches tour in four early nominating states amid 2020 consideration Pence on border wall: Trump won't be ‘deterred’ by Dem ‘obstruction’ MORE referred to some African nations as "shithole countries" earlier this year.

“Having partaken in the struggle and fight towards our independence, we can never sit unconcerned when it comes to an agreement which has the tendency of compromising our sovereignty and integrity,” said National Union of Ghana Students President Frank Amoako Hene, who joined the protesters Wednesday.

“We are saying that President [Nana] Akufo-Addo should listen to the people of this country,” added Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, a member of Ghana's Parliament. “He is not co-president with President Trump of the U.S.A. He is the president of Ghana.”

American officials, however, stressed the limitations of the authority granted to U.S. troops under the deal in a statement to the Times.

The deal “does not give the United States carte blanche to come in and act unrestricted in Ghana,” the U.S. Embassy in Ghana said. It added that Ghana is “recognized as a global leader — capable of maintaining its own security and perpetuating peace and security in the region and around the world.”