Ghanaians Pilgrims Demo In Mecca

Hundreds of Ghanaian pilgrims disturbed the peace in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, when they took to the streets to demonstrate against the poor arrangement regarding this year’s Hajj. In a country that is very sensitive to such demonstrations, especially against the backdrop of the contagion of the Arab spring, the Saudi police quickly moved in to disperse the protesters. The contagion of local politics appeared to have found its way into the morass when perceived New Patriotic Party (NPP) and their National Democratic Congress (NDC) counterparts traded arguments over the quality of the performance of the Hajj Committee, the government installed Hajj regulating body. The immediate cause of the demonstration was the weight ceiling for pilgrims which pegged at 40 kilos, in variance with the 46 kilos expectation of the Ghanaian travelers. It appeared to have been a spontaneous action, attracting scores of others who soon gave the protest a status unacceptable to the Saudi authorities, whose secret agents are all over the place especially during the pilgrimage. Pilgrims expected the free weight to be 46 kilos, and with the 20 Saudi Riyals per kilo directive, these are worrying times for the anxious travelers. The country had its taste of the Arab spring when hundreds of locals demonstrated in the streets, demanding reforms to the political system, but these were swiftly nipped in the bud before it became a national security challenge. Not even the intervention of the National Chief Imam, who is part of this year’s pilgrims, could stop the demonstration. The Saudi authorities are fuming with rage over how such a demonstration could take place by pilgrims when the entire Arab world is apprehensive of security threat to the status quo. DAILY GUIDE is reliably informed that news about the development has already been relayed to Accra with the authorities fretting over the implication of the action. The pilgrims are disappointed that the Hajj Committee is showing indifference to their plight at a time when most of them have already exhausted their money and are anxious for the return trip to Ghana to avert the challenges of not having money to feed themselves on. The first batch of Ghanaian pilgrims is due to touch down on Sunday 20th November, 2011, and unless the issue of their luggage is resolved, many of the pilgrims would be disappointed in not having their bags of souvenirs brought home.