The Alternative National Congress (ANC) has categorically shifted blame for the chaotic end of the peaceful January 6 protest on the Liberia National Police (LNP).
The ANC, following the use of teargas and hot water on protesters who assembled on the Capitol Hill to demand their government account for a number of things including declaration of asset of the President, missing monies and other governance issues, said in a release that action taken by security officers to pull out teargas and hot water on peaceful citizens was wrong and unacceptable.
The ANC and other opposition political parties have been in collaboration to push the George Weah Administration for good governance and respect for the rule of law and was a supporter of the Council of Patriots’ (COP) June 7 mass protest last year, but as the protest that ended in chaos on January 6 was drawing closer to the previous December 30 date, the political leader of the party, Alexander B. Cummings, withdrew the party’s support to the protest on ground that the intent to call on President George Weah to step down was unconstitutional.
The decision drew public sentiments that Mr. Cummings and the ANC were trying to align with the government to be one of its praise singers in the midst of difficulties and corruption that have beclouded the country.
However, the ANC dispelling such public perception about its decision on the day of the protest could not polish its position on the use of teargas and hot water on the protesters who had begun their protest peacefully in the day.
“The Alternative National Congress (ANC) holds government fully accountable for everything that occurred at the protest ground. The Government of Liberia was aware of the protest time frame and made a commitment to provide security, but the government used the same security to cause fear among their people,” the ANC release said.
A few days to the protest, Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe told BBC Focus on Africa that the government of Liberia will provide security for protesters on the 6 and even up to the days that come after the 6th.
The Council of Patriots, however, did not state in all of its releases and press conferences the number of days that the protesters were going to be in the street for, but rather said consistently that they will remain in the street till President George Weah responds to their demands.
With the promise made by the government to protect peaceful protesters, the Alternative National Congress has rejected reasons provided by Minister Nagbe for using teargas and hot water on the protesters.
In consonance with Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue, Minister Nagbe said the action taken by government was a result of protesters cooking food on the side of the street.
The Alternative National Congress in a release on December 28, 2019, called on the government of Liberia and Council of Patriots to discuss logistical issues that also encompass food and provisions for the protesters.
“The Alternative National Congress believes if they would come to one dialogue, what took place today wouldn’t have happened; the government takes full responsibility for causing harm that led to injuring some peaceful citizens,” said ANC’s release.
The ANC said that the right to peacefully assemble is a constitutional right and cannot be stopped by any government except when there is a state of emergency.
Relating to the alleged discovery of a gun in Representative Yekeh Kolubah’s vehicle, the ANC said “We want to let them know that we will not accept any attempt to frame our partisan or innocent citizens of crimes with the intent to quiet them through bogus charges and imprisonment. ”
The ANC is committed to putting forth the needs of the people and vows not to be silent but to continue to hold the government accountable for anything that goes wrong.
Tina S. Mehnpaine (intern) contributed to this story.