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Federation of Liberian Youth, LINSU Slam Protest; Reflects on Liberia’s ‘Protests and its Repercussions’

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Monrovia – Three major youth organizations of Liberia have given their joint position on the June 7 protest, criticizing the organizers while also reflecting on the potential ramifications of an out-of-control protest similar to the 1979 rice riot.

The Federation of Liberian Youth, Liberian National Students Union, the Mano River Union Youth Parliament-Liberia Chapter in a statement released Wednesday expressed concern about “mounting tension and creeping instability” that have flare up since news emerged about the pending protest.

In the statement, the groups lauded the Counsel of Patriots “for their thought to effectuate this constitutional, democratic and universal right” by considering the planned protest, which they say “helps to strengthen and consolidate our democratic system”.

However, they expressed fear, referencing Liberia’s bloodest protest – the 1979 rice riot – which aftermath evidently changed the country’s political dynamics.

“Fellow Liberians, taking a historical look at protests and its repercussions on Liberia and Africa at large, one cannot but patriotically caution the ring leaders and all concern to disembark from said process as our peace is fragile and our national economy unfavorable,” said Mohammed Massalley, Speaker of the Mano River Youth Parliament, who read the statement. 

“In our own Country Liberia, our turbulent political history cannot be complete or written without mentioning the infamous April 14, 1979 Rice Riot. A protest which was supposed to be peaceful, turned violent and claimed the lives of several Liberians and subsequently resulted to the eventual topple of the Tolbert’s regime on April 12, 1980.”

The youth then took a swing at Senators Oscar Cooper and Sando Johnson as well as Representative Yeke Kolubah, who are members of the Council of Patriots – planners of the protest.

They also accused buinessman-turned-politician Benoni Urey, political leader of the All Liberian Party and chairman of the collaboarting opposition parties.

The youth groups alleged that with the involvemnet of the three lawmakers and Mr. Urey in planning the protest “if care is not taken” it would turnout to be a reoccurance of the past.

The statement further accusses the lawmaker and Mr. Urey, who have also been very vocal and critical of the Weah-led government, of having links with the war by either commiting atrocities or economic crimes.

“These individuals have no moral rectitude and national patriotism to demand a protest in the so-called name of Saving the Stateand this is the very reason why they are always associated with unnationalistic, unpatriotic and counterproductive undertakings to cause chaos at the detriment of the ordinary people,” the statement stressed.

“They have no space in our current generation and we as youth leaders call on all Liberians never to give them credence and relevance especially at the expense of this government headed by His Excellency, Dr. George M. Weah who has an impeccable character free from national chaos.

“Let us send this caveat that anyone who jeopardizes our peace and precipitates chaos while their wives and children are peacefully living in the US and other countries shall not go with impunity.”

At the same time, the students frowned on Council of Patriots for insisting on staging the planned protest despite holding talks with President George Weah on May 14.

“How can this quasi group plan a protest without letting the Liberian people to know the motivating reasons for their protest? How can a patriot plan a protest without unleashing the duration of his protest? What are the actual motives of these so-called protesters who claim to be in the interest of the Liberian people? Fellow Liberians, these individuals want to ferment chaos, for this is the only means they use to accrued wealth at the detriment of the ordinary Liberians.”

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