18 UMU Protesters Released

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Police clashing with students

Eighteen (18) students of the United Methodist University (UMU) who were arrested on Friday have been signed for by their parents and school authorities, the Liberia National Police (LNP) said yesterday in a release.

The LNP over the weekend announced the arrests of the 18 students when they protested at the Ministry of Commerce and disrupted normal working activities, which resulted in injuries during a melee with police officers.

Police spokesman Sam Collins said the protesters were questioned for their alleged role in the Friday protest.

He said the 18 individuals informed the Crime Services Investigators that they were part of a group calling itself “Citizens for Open Society and Transformation” that are seeking for the resignation of the Minister of Commerce, Axel Addy, over his alleged failure to address the “proliferations of expired goods on the Liberian market.”

Collins said the protesters’ action disrupted the smooth flow of vehicular and human traffic and business activities along Ashmun Street for several hours.

He further said the LNP officers who responded to the protest came under attack when protesters threw stones and other foreign objects at them, wounding three officers.

However, our reporter who was on the scene reported that some LNP officers were accused of allegedly assaulting several protesters, which led the protesters to respond by throwing stones.

The LNP named the protest’s leaders as Eugene William, Ryes Willie and David Germu.

Meanwhile, the LNP said it will not tolerate any form of violence from individuals who may want to undermine the peace and security of the country, especially as the country moves to the October elections.

The LNP said while it respects the rights of individuals in Liberia to exercise their constitutional rights, such rights must be done within the confines of the law, warning that it will deal drastically with anyone or group of individuals, under the rule of law that may want to disrupt the peace of the country.

3 COMMENTS

  1. The police brought the violence….Liberian National Police should improved their tactics of handle Liberians under acceptable application of the law…

  2. Now you guys are coming with little facts now? Your don’t spoil the good legacy of Mr. Best from the Daily Observer. Now the on scene reporter is giving you the episode of what happen. Journalism is a profession that speaks high value of pursuer who chase after it. Most of all, you are well respected when you report on Accurate, Balance and clarity. I am here to provide all evidence that LNP officers proved the riot. Sam Collins will have to take side with the on scene LNP officers because he wants to defend his salaries, which is wrong professionally, because there has been no proper investigation carried out to determined who’s wrong or right. And I want to use this as one of those mediums to call the attention of the president of the Republic of Liberia Madam Ellen John Sirleaf , to use her office to set up an Independent Investigative Committee (ICC) on the matter so as to ensure justice to peaceful students whose rights were violated by LNP officers. Madam President, as we draw close to the 2017 elections, seeing theses signs of police brutality signals troubling for our emerging democracy. Lest, we as young people will not want to be reminded about our past in a regime destitution and pains. Tolerance is the hull-mark of any emerging democracy.

  3. A philosopher once said, “Democracy is something we must always be working at. It is a process never finished, never ending. And each new height gained opens broader vistas for the future. Thus it has been as one looks back over the sweep of history; thus it must continue to be if democracy is to continue as a working tool in the hands of free men.”

    Yes indeed, if Liberians look back over our turbulent years: we remembered “The Rice Riot”; the overthrowing of “Tolbert’s Administration one party state”; we witnessed the ascension of “Doe’s brutal dictatorship”; we saw “Taylor’s autocratic regime” that destroyed the country; we endured “the carnages of two civil wars”; and, we witnessed the ushering in of many transitional governments, before we finally reached a compromise through an electoral process that ushered in “Ellen’s Corrupt Administration”.

    As we experiment with our new found democracy, let’s remind our protesting students that there are lawful democratic processes of airing their grievances. Let’s us also remind our law enforcement officers that Liberia is not a police state where police can mercilessly brutalize peaceful demonstrators just for the sake of maintaining law and order. The police, as well as the demonstrators, need to obey the laws of Liberia to avoid bloodshed.

    I remember too well in 1979 after I returned to Liberia from Ghana, where I completed my studies, just to find my once peaceful country in turmoil. I landed in Liberia during the infamous “Rice Riot” that got out of hand because some stubborn government officials were not willing to peacefully settle the protestors’ grievances. For us to maintain our new found peace and democracy, let’s not repeat the Ghost of “1979 Rice Riot” that caused Liberia to descend into a land of chaos and destruction.

    Too many times in Africa, so-called democratic countries do not follow the path of settling political disputes peacefully. Take for example newly formed South Sudan…ongoing civil war, Ivory Coast and soldiers’ mutiny, Democratic Republic of Congo political instability, Burundi and other African countries with autocratic leaders.
    To our young protesting students, Liberia has been through too many undulating (up and down) paths: Too many precious lives have been lost to our destructive civil wars without erecting a single monument to honor these victims’ memories.

    There are lawful procedures put in place to air your grievances. You can also utilize news media to air your grievances. Write or visit your congressmen and women to lodge your complaints. Protest peacefully but do it within the confines of the law.

    Again, violence is never the answer to settling our national problems. For the sake of peace, let us remember the tragedies of 1979 Rice Riot.

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