President Weah Okays June 7 Mass Protest
Monrovia – After many meetings for a dialogue both behind the scene and on Unification Day with planners of the June 7 protest, President George Manneh Weah seems to now have given up and given the nod for the protest to move ahead.
Report by Edwin G. Genoway, Jr. [email protected]
The President, in his nation address on Wednesday, May 29, gave the organizers a green light to protest by quoting Article 17 of the Liberian Constitution.
“My Fellow Citizens, Article 17 of the Liberian Constitution deals with the rights of all citizens to peaceful assembly, as well as the right to present petitions to their Government. For the sake of clarity, I would like to quote Article 17 in its entirety: ‘All persons, at all times, in an orderly and peaceable manner, shall have the right to assemble and consult upon the common good, to instruct their representatives, to petition the Government or other functionaries for the redress of grievances and to associate fully with others or refuse to associate in political parties, trade unions and other organizations.’”
The President also promised government protection for the June 7 protest. “l once again wish to pledge my absolute commitment to the protection of each and every right and freedom granted to each and every one of you under our Constitution.”
He continued, “It is the use of these freedoms that will define us as a people. It is our toleration of political opposition and opposing ideas that will enrich our national dialogue and discourse. It is our ability to manage this culture of freedom and tolerance for criticism that can sustain our peace. It is reconciliation and social justice, for all Liberians, that will bring us all together to face and overcome our difficult moments,” he noted.
The Liberian leader, however, called for a dialogue based on truth evidence and facts. “Our national dialogue must be based on truth, facts, and evidence. And our national discourse must also be civil. In this age of social media, let us use this medium as a resource for nation-building and the promotion of peace, rather than a tool of national destruction,” he stressed.
Organizers of the June 7 #SavetheState protest, under the banner of Council of Patriots (COP), on Friday reiterated their pledge to go on with the protest while guaranteeing a peaceful and orderly gathering as they held discussions with Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the visiting Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and Head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS).
In discussions with members of COP including Senator Sando Johnson, spokespersons Darius Dillon, Henry Costa, Mo Ali, Rufus Neufville and Rev. Sanjee Stepter, Dr. Chambas, according to multiple sources privy to what was discussed, raised concerns about the number of days the protest is intended to last as the UN envoy told COP that the entire West African sub-region is concerned about the upcoming protest.