Liberia: Human Rights Commission Condemns Police for Using ‘Excessive Force’ to Disperse Protesters

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The Acting Chairman of the Independent National Human Rights Commission said the police broke the rules of engagement by the use of water cannon and teargas on peaeful protesters

MONROVIA – The Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) has accused the Liberian Nation Police of breaking the rules of engagement by the use of force against “peaceful protester” when they dispersed them by the use of teargas and hot water cannon.

In a press statement Wednesday, January 8, 2020, Atty. Bartholomew B. Colley, Acting chairman of the INCHR called for an investigation of the National Police over the use of excessive of force by state security against peaceful protesters on Monday.

The INCHR and CSO platform said, their monitors observed that the Liberian National Police team on the protest ground headed by Deputy Inspector General for Operation, Marvin Sackor, without any prior warning, ordered the use of water cannon and teargas against the protesters and bystanders to disperse the crowd.

“The excessive use of force by the LNP against the protesters who had been peaceful all day on Monday, January 6, 2020 was totally disproportionate and unwarranted. Efforts by the INCHR and the CSOO human rights platform leaderships to dissuade the police action were ignored by the Police Deputy Director-General for Operation because he claimed he had received orders from above to totally dispersed the crowd of protesters,” Atty. Colley said.

The INCHR also demanded an explanation from the government on the presence of an unmarked vehicle occupied by Ex-LAURD general Ofori Diah, EX-NPFL Ex-general Siafa Norma, Ex-ULIMO-J general Augustine Nagbe alias “General Power” and four other which passed security checkpoints without inspection and entered the assembly ground, a no go area for unauthorized vehicles.

“The excessive use of force by the LNP against the protesters who had been peaceful all day on Monday, January 6, 2020 was totally disproportionate and unwarranted. Efforts by the INCHR and the CSOO human rights platform leaderships to dissuade the police action were ignored by the Police Deputy Director-General for Operation because he claimed he had received orders from above to totally dispersed the crowd of protesters

– Atty. Bartholomew B. Colley, Acting chairman of the INCHR

However, the INCHR and CSO Platform acknowledged and appreciated the LNP earlier professional and cooperative poster exhibited during the morning hours of January 6, 2020 protest but at the same time demanded investigation and explanations of the excessive force used and the presence of ex-generals at the protest.

The Council of Patriots and its supporters were determined to remain on the streets until they heard a voice of reason from President George Weah, they therefore began to cook on the street in front of the Executive Mansion, prompting reaction of the Police – spraying them with hot water and tear gas to disperse the crowd.

Shortly before the crowd was dispersed, Rep. Kolubah informed the crowd that he had received intelligence that President Weah had ordered the arrest of the protestors. 

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