Liberia: Visually Impaired Activist Temporarily Held By Police for Leading Protest for Electricity
Monrovia – Noah Z. Gibson, a political activist and critic of the Weah-led government who is visually impaired, was released from police custody on Monday after spending more than five hours at the headquarters of the Liberia National Police in Monrovia.
Gibson and scores of residents of the Jacob Town Community were arrested by Police when they were protesting in demanding the restoration of electricity in their community.
About 100 protesters led by the visually impaired Gibson blocked Somalia Drive for most of the morning hours, making it difficult for motorists and pedestrians to use the route.
At the start of the protest, Gibson began a live stream on the social media informing the public about the community protest.
“For nearly a year now, we have been in darkness. We have called on the LEC, informing them about our plights and they made lots of promises and those promises cannot be fulfilled.”– Mr. Noah Gibson, Visually Impaired Political Activist
With his cane and a face shield in his hands, Gibson disclosed that for almost a year, residents of Jacob Town community have been cut off from the power grid of the Liberia Electricity Corporation.
He added that the leadership of Jacob Town Community has met with the management of LEC to address the issue but to no avail.
But after numerous pleads, Gibson said, the LEC has become adamant in addressing their concern.
“For nearly a year now, we have been in darkness. We have called on the LEC, informing them about our plights and they made lots of promises and those promises cannot be fulfilled,” he said in the live video.
“I started informing them on local radio stations almost four months ago about our action and they ignored what we have been telling them and they took it for granted.
“So, I have decided to take the revolutionary responsibility by leading the group right here this morning by blocking the main Somalia Drive to be specific Jacob Town to claim their attention.”
It did not take long when he and other residents of the Jacob Town Community were arrested and brought to the police headquarters.
At the Police headquarters, scores of human rights activists including Adama Dempster pleaded with the police for Gibson’s release.
The police agreed to release only Gibson but the visually impaired, who led the protest, rejected the offer and demanded that all the protesters should be released.
The police then released Gibson and others, warning them against blocking the Somalia Drive and suggested that they present their plight to the district representative for intervention.