Liberia: ‘They Had to Protest’ – EJS Shows Solidarity with Anti-Rape Protestors

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Former President Sirleaf told reporters who followed her into her residence that she could not sit and watch the women from her compound without showing solidarity for an issue that has always been of national concern.

MONROVIA – Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who showed up among anti-rape protestors Thursday afternoon says the frequency of the rape in Liberia needed action as such, there was the need for protest.


Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]


“Rape has always been a problem, it was before my administration, it was in my administration and it’s still with us today. The women, given the kinds of cases that have recently come up – young babies, three months old, young children, 10 years old violated, sometimes, by old men, sometimes by young men, is something that the women felt they had to act and they had to act in a manner in which one does in peaceful protest,” she said.

Thursday marked the third day of protest as the campaigners have been seeking the attention of President George Weah since Tuesday when the protest began.

The protestors have been bent on not delivering their petition statement to any official of government besides the President who prides himself as the feminist-in-chief.

Though the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection was designated by the President on Tuesday to receive the petition, the protestors believed she had not done much in her capacity as Gender Minister and could therefore not regard her as the rightful recipient of their petition.

“Rape has always been a problem, it was before my administration, it was in my administration and it’s still with us today. The women, given the kinds of cases that have recently come up – young babies, three months old, young children, 10 years old violated, sometimes, by old men, sometimes by young men, is something that the women felt they had to act and they had to act in a manner in which one does in peaceful protest.”

– Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President, Republic of Liberia

On Thursday, the Liberia National Police (LNP) prevented the protestors from meeting at Vamoma Junction where they gathered for the first two days for their onward march the Capitol Hill.

Many who had begun assembling near the Vamoma Junction -Airfield route were turned away as they tried to assemble for the third day of protest, drawing attention to the government and raising awareness about the issue.

“They just assaulted us, saying that nobody is gathering and instructing us to go home,” said Facia Harris. “Most of the officers then began assaulting us, as a result the protesters are going into hiding.

Veda Ayele Nyoth Simpson, in a live Facebook declared: “We are unprotected, Thursday in Black”.

Madam Simpson explained: “Just for peacefully assembling, they are saying we are making Liberia ugly. This is the police that supposedly sworn to serve and protect – and instead of protecting, they are threatening, they are harassing. We have young people who are here just to speak for their rights and to talk and to talk about what’s going on in this country. Rape is an epidemic in Liberia, there needs to be a state of emergency on rape in Liberia, we are truly unprotected, if the police cannot protect us, Thursday in Black, we are unprotected.”

Police were also accused of seizing cellphones from protesters.: “He (a police officer) threatened me, if he does not give me my phone I will go to the court of law,” a protester lamented.

Most of the protestors were forced by the Police to stop at the Fish Market field opposite the residence of the former President.

Former President Sirleaf told reporters who followed her into her residence that she could not sit and watch the women from her compound without showing solidarity for an issue that has always been of national concern.

“I cannot sit in my house, stay in my yard, see all those women out there demonstrating for something that is good for the country and not go there to show solidarity with them. So, my idea was to just go across sit with them, talk with them to make sure that they keep the peace that we fought [for] when I was President in all those years; to tell them we don’t want to see any violence

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