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Liberia: Collaborating Opposition Parties Condemn ‘Brutality and Violence’ against Students

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Monrovia – The Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) have condemned the “brutality and violence meted out by the Government of Liberia”, against protesting students from several public schools in Monrovia.

The students were protesting in demand of the payment of salary arrears due their teachers.

“We view the students’ action as an exercise of their fundamental rights, particularly as it relates to the right to education and freedom of assembly,” CPP said in a release.

“The heavy-handedness of the CDC-led government through the police which employed excessive and disproportionate force to deprive the students of the exercise of this right is callous, irresponsible and must be condemned by all well–meaning Liberians, and the international community.”

The political party said the “only crime of the students, most of whom are children, was to ensure that the Government of Liberia meets its obligations” by paying teachers who had boycotted classes.

“Weah’s own Minister of Education decried the situation and requested increase in the national appropriation for education, which was unheeded,” the political parties added in a statement.

“Educating our children by availing the highest quality of education to them will be a high priority of a CPP-led Government, and will be reflected as such in our national budget. This is how we will continue to safeguard the future of our country. We empathize with those students that sustained injuries (physical or emotional) and assure all Liberians that the CPP remains committed to working with everyone in finding an alternative for a better political leadership beginning 2020 and finally in 2023.”

At the same time, the CPP is demanding “a swift investigation by an independent board of inquiry” into what they termed as “barbaric act” in order to determine the extent of police misconduct and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Video footage and news reports of police brutality and excesses currently running across social media and television stations around the world are not only disheartening but also undermines efforts at economic recovery in the continuous portrayal of our country as unstable, unsafe, misguided, and teetering on the verge of collapse. 

“It is time for the Weah administration to become sensitive to these occurrences and act on the side of Liberia and the struggling population which afforded him the chance to lead our great nation, as opposed to acting in galloping incompetence, partisanship, uncaring, disdain and division of our people,” the release said.

The CPP also claims that the uneven-handedness of the Police was also witnessed when they fired an inordinate volume of tear gas at students of the Seventh Day Adventist High School in Sinkor, who were simply showing solidarity with aggrieved teachers.

Meanwhile, the CPP demands that the CDC-led government proceeds immediately to settle the salary arrears owed teachers and all other civil servants without further delay.

“The Liberian people are right to expect that they will be paid on time, and commensurate with the ever-increasing costs of living in the country.  Any caring and responsible government would prioritize this over the growing wastes in government’s expenditures, and the many useless international travels with oversized delegations on shameless spending sprees.”

The CPP has slammed the government for blaming opposition for its “inability to pay struggling Liberians who are already wallowing at the bottom of the economic ladder”.

“It proves the administration’s incompetence and inability to fix the economy, which the administration contributed to undermine through poor decisions including misplaced priorities and unrelenting corruption in high places,” the release added.

“The action against the students has taken us back to events of more than 30 years ago when police and the army used excessive force to clamp down on students’ protests, thereby further exacerbating the anger of people already under the crushing weight of economic hardships.”

The CPP assured to continue ensuring that the rights of all Liberians under the constitution are respected, and that no amount of police brutality will stop us from seeking the interests of the people.

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