Liberia: June 7 ‘Save the State’ Protest Ends in Deadlock, Poised to Continue on Monday
MONROVIA – The Save The State Protest, Liberia’s biggest post-war protest, is likely to continue on Monday, June 10, as both the government and the organizers of the mass demonstration, The Council of Patriots, failed to reach common grounds on the delivery of the petition for which the protest was held.
Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]
The petition is expected to seek actions on matters relating to corruption, governance, the economy and the provision of basic social services for Liberian citizens.
Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor was expected to receive the petition from Council of Patriots but failed to show up reportedly due to health reasons.
However, it is also speculated that the Vice President refused to turn up because of the allegation from the President that she’s one of the quiet master minders of the June 7 Protest.
FrontPageAfrica has not been able to verify either of two reports relating to why the Vice President did not show up to receive the petition.
Justice Minister Frank Musah Dean, Foreign Affairs Minister Gbehzhongar M. Findley, Minister of State without Portfolio, Trokon A. Kpui, Representative Edwin Snowe, who is also an ECOWAS Parliamentarian and the ECOWAS Ambassador to Liberia, Amb. Babatunde Ajisomo, were all present to receive the petition.
FrontPage Africa observed several back and forth between these officials of government and the Council of Patriots with ECOWAS playing the mediating role.
For a brief while, the Council of Patriots were indecisive whether they would present the petition to any of these officials or wait for the Vice President and if possible, the President instead.
Another point of contention was whether the Council of Patriots would walk towards the designated officials to present the petition or the officials of government would walk through the crowd to receive the petition from the Council of Patriots.
After almost an hour of negotiating back and forth, the officials of government were escorted outside the premises of the Capitol Building through a mammoth ground that gathered in front of the Executive Mansion which directly faces the Capitol to receive the petition.
But this came with some embarrassment to the government officials. Not only did they have to squeeze themselves through the stubborn crowd, but they were also booed at as protestors chanted “Rogue! Rogue! Y’all stole our US$25 million”.
However, organizers of the protest demanded the release from police detention their compatriots who arrested on Monday for their alleged involvement in a riot on Monday. The protestors contended that their compatriots had been in police detention for more than 48 hours and must therefore, be released before the petition can be presented.
Upon that demand the Justice Minister and his entourage, including the ECOWAS Ambassador left for the police headquarters which is just behind the Capitol Building.
However, it appeared both the Council of Patriots and government officials, including the ECOWAS Ambassador could not reach a common understanding.