Gov’t Cautions PATEL to Desist From Protest – Says It Threatens Peace
Monrovia, The Government of Liberia has described as “disrupting peace and security of the state” the protest planned by PATEL to be staged on Monday.
In a press release issued by the Ministry of Information Culture and Tourism issued on Saturday, the government said its attention has been drawn to its attention that “individuals representing the PATEL group have engaged in the act of intimidating and threatening owners of businesses across Monrovia as a means of coercing them to join a reportedly planned demonstration and strike by PATEL”.
PATEL is the Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia. Their planned peaceful protest, according to them, is intended to draw government’s attention to the challenges faced by the business community in the country.
Their first protest was peacefully staged in February for three consecutive days during which all shops and market centers were closed.
The represented their concerns to members of the Legislature and petitioned them to urgently address their concerns.
But the government says the planned action and the preparation is in conflict with the laws of Liberia and strongly warned that the group immediately desists.
The MICAT statement says the government will not countenance any illegal act by individuals or groups including PATEL that portends to breach the peace and disrupt normal activities while stagnating the economy.
“While the government recognizes the democratic rights of individuals and groups to express grievances over issues of disagreement, it advises that such expressions or demonstrations must be done within the parameters of the law,” the release noted.
According to MICAT, up to Friday, April 7, 2017, the Government had been engaged in series of discussions with the PATEL leadership and that the group’s initial concerns and contentions regarding the ECOWAS Common External Tariff, Pre-shipment Inspection of Imported Goods, Inspection Procedures at the Free Port of Monrovia, the Payment of Taxes in United States Dollars only and the One Cent Telecommunications Tariff, have already been addressed
However, according to the release, PATEL continues to make additional unrealistic demands which, leaves the Government with the suspicion that there is more than meets the eye and PATEL’s motives may have political undertones.
“The Liberia National Police has been mandated to keep a close watch over this unacceptable development and act appropriately to maintain the peace and stability of the state. The Police will also enhance ongoing confidence patrols,” the release disclosed.