A group of 48 illegal miners was arrested by the police on Tuesday afternoon after they came out of a mine shaft owned by AngloGold Ashanti.
The miners were among 300 people who had sneaked into the shaft to look for gold but got stuck in one of the tunnels.
The police and the military surrounded the main exit of the shaft and asked the miners to surrender peacefully. They were then taken to a police station nearby.
The arrests sparked a protest by some youths and relatives of the miners at the Obuasi East District Assembly. They demanded that the detainees be freed.
The situation turned violent when some protesters smashed the windows of a vehicle that was used to carry the arrested miners to the station.
Many miners are still hiding underground because they are afraid of being arrested.
AngloGold Ashanti denied that the trapped miners were locked up and could not get out.
The mining company said in a statement that the miners were free to leave on foot through the existing ramp from the mine.
“Unauthorized persons underground can exit on foot, using the existing ramp through the main access of this mining area. No one underground has been locked up in any way, and the main exit ramp from the mine is still open.
“Obuasi Gold Mine’s management team has informed the relevant authorities and public security services and is working closely with them.”