Liberia: Violent Clash Erupts Between Rival Student Groups At President Weah’s Annual Message
Capitol Hill, Monrovia – As Liberia’s President George M. Weah delivered his second Annual Message to the Legislature on Monday, January 28, the scene at Capitol Hill was filled with drama as rival student groups clashed at the University of Liberia’s Capitol Hill campus.
Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh, [email protected]
In the early morning hours prior to the delivery of the President’s address, our reporter covering the event saw rival student groups clashing at the main entrance of the state-run University of Liberia main campus opposite the Capitol Building.
The first group comprising students, chanting pro Student Unification Party’s songs, gathered at the entrance of the university to protest the suspension of classes owing to the President’s annual message.
The university’s administration had earlier announced via its Facebook page, the suspension of classes on its Capitol Hill campus due the traffic and security restrictions imposed by the Liberia National Police (LNP).
But several students who claimed to not have been aware of the announcement gathered at the main entrance of the university and began shouting “No school, no nation address!”
However, they were confronted by a rival pro-government group; causing a melee that resulted to a stone-throwing battle that wounded several students.
Eventually, the pro-CDC group increased their number and overpowered the UL students who left the vicinity of the campus.
The students accused the rival group of being CDC supporters and not students of the University of Liberia as they claimed.
“We came here peacefully to attend our classes, but to our uttermost surprise, the administration told us there is no class. We see that as an affront,” vented a protester who was angry with the administration’s decision.
“We were not told that classes were suspended today. And instead of the administration coming to address us, these hooligans have invaded our campus and stoning us,” another student only identified as Moses asserted.
Our reporter witnessed the pro-CDC group who had assembled on the campus of the University of Liberia chased out several students who entered the University’s compound; beating and wounding them in the process as the police watched without intervening.
One of the victims, Joshua Kpagbor, who claimed to be student said he was flogged and thrown out of the compound.
Joshua, displaying his wound to our reporter, explained that he was not aware of the previous incident and had come to find his older brother who was awaiting him.
“After they saw me in the fence (UL compound), they started running towards me and shouting let’s grab him. I became too afraid and started to run. That’s how they grabbed me and began beating me, stepping on me and hitting my chest. They also toke away my phone and money,” Joshua explained his ordeal.
Meanwhile, the aggrieved students blamed the administration for the decision to suspend classes all because of the President’s State of the Nation address.
Morris Tokpah, who claimed to be a Management student of the university and a resident of Barnersville noted that the decision by the UL administration came as a surprise as he was not aware of the social media update.
Tokpah said the situation cost him economic losses because he abandoned other activities and wasted money for transportation.
He noted that it was ‘very strange’ that the UL administration would suspend classes simply because of the President’s Annual Message.
Another student, Paul Harris called on the CDC-led government to follow the democratic principles exhibited by former President Sirleaf and stop infringing on the rights of its citizens.
“For 12 years that Madam Sirleaf was president, not a time she ordered the administration to suspend classes during her annual message. Why this government is infringing on our rights and the so-called UL administration is dancing to its rhythm? This is wrong,” Harris vented.
Meanwhile, further down the Hill, pro-government supporters lined Tubman Boulevard with huge banners and placards depicting the president’s pictures, singing and dancing pro-Weah songs.
“I am here to support my President. He has done so much in one year. See our roads, our children are going to school free of charge,” declared 65 years old Martha Gray.
Others condemned the fanfare on grounds that the administration has done nothing to celebrate.
There is nothing to celebrate. The CDC-led government is brainwashing its supporters while it continues to loot the Liberian people, vented Alex Paigar, who had gone to witness the event.