Security Advisory Report: June 7 Protest Likely to Overwhelm Liberia’s Security Force
MONROVIA – The June 7 ‘Save the State’ protest could overwhelm local security response, emergency services and medical infrastructure which are already limited, a report of the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) under the U.S. Department of State has warned.
Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]
The report was released on June 6.
In its 2019 Liberia Crime and Safety Report, OSAC indicated that security forces in Liberia face chronic shortages in manpower, equipment, and training – particularly within the Liberian National Police (LNP).
“This lack of resources stems from Liberia’s civil wars, after which its entire formal security sector — including military, police, and intelligence — was dismantled and reconstituted from scratch due to the prevalence of human rights abuses committed during the conflict,” the report indicated.
OSAC indicated that it is unclear how well the security forces in the country would be able to lessen their use of force, particularly in the face of largescale, multi-location gatherings and or provocations such as stone-throwing, barricading, rioting and looting.
The crime and safety 2019 report indicated that the Liberia National Police has so far, only managed localized demonstrations involving a few hundreds who remained compliant like the “Bring Back Our Money” protest.
However, there are concerns that the “Save the State” protest might offer a different scenario.
“Heavy-handed response to the June 7 protests, or even the perception of such a response, may further erode confidence in security forces and enflame anti-government tensions; as a result, the margin of error for the government is narrow. Maintaining cohesion and professionalism will be more difficult in rural areas of the count,” the report noted.