MONROVIA – Residents of Monrovia woke up Monday aware that there was going to be a protest, to be staged by the Council of Patriots (COP) of Mr. Henry Costa. Reminiscing from the June 7, 2019 protest, many hurried to get to town to avoid being caught up in the protest while others chose to remain home to avoid same.
Like the ordinary citizens, the security forces were also on the alert to dislodge would-be protesters as several armed police and plain cloths officers were seen in every street corner, especially on Capitol Hill where the famous June 7 took place.
The tactics to have discouraged many would-be protesters succeeded to some extent, but that didn’t discourage a few who gathered with placards and posters bearing inscription that accused the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change of bad governance and corruption.
Those protesters were disbursed minutes after they gathered by officers of the Liberian National Police who used teargas and baton to beat up some protesters. In small groups, they also gathered at the US Embassy on Benson Street, Monrovia where they breathe some air of relief but the number could not signify strength.
On his Facebook page, Mr. Costa accused the government of Liberia of denying them the opportunity to exercise their constitutional rights to protest. “The government has decided that no one will be allowed to protest in Liberia. Therefore, police officers attacked off roads in certain areas to deny us access to our assembly point. Dictatorship at work! But we will resist it.”
Government didn’t disappoint us
Mr. Mulbah Yorgbor, the secretary general of the Council of Patriots. In a telephone interview with FrontPageAFrica he said, the action of the government to suppress and deny peaceful protesters wasn’t surprising because the COP had anticipated it.
“The protest was even successfully before it even started. We had expected that the government will clampdown on peaceful protesters before we even assembled – that was the expectation and the government didn’t disappoint us, they did exactly as we had imagined,” he said.
“Bulked of the young people who were proceeding to the Capitol Building were prevented by the police. They were chased with teargas,” he added.
Mr. Yorgbor also accused Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee of heading a team of police officers who were under direct mandate to arrest brutalize him and “kill him.” “About the success of the protest, it is a success. This shows the intolerance of the government and how they are unwilling to listen to dissenting view for everyone to speak their mind freely.”
He also told FPA that prior to the protest, the COP wrote the EU, the US Embassy and the head of ECOWAS about their protest.