More Protests to Follow June 7

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Costa: "We will protest until our demands are met."

-Costa declares

Henry Pedro Costa, one of the lead campaigners and chief propagandist of the Council of Patriots (CoP), organizers of the June 7 protest, has told his followers that June 7 was just the beginning of the protest, and more are expected subsequently.

Costa’s statement comes against the backdrop that the June 7 “Save the State” protest ended on Friday after thousands of the protesters, who converged on Capitol Hill, peacefully dispersed without having achieved the expected objective of the protest, which was to present their petition to the President of Liberia.

His declaration came when the government failed to meet protesters’ demand to free certain students of the University of Liberia, who were arrested and incarcerated over 48 hours before the day of the protest. The protesters had also decided not to read and present their petition to those officials, including Foreign Minister, Gbehzohngar Findley, Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean and others, who showed up to receive the petition on behalf of President George Weah, because they “were not elected officials.”

Before then, Mr. Costa had disclosed earlier that they were not honoring the 3: p.m. deadline by the government to leave the street after presenting the petition, but would remain therein until the first set of their demands are met.

“Our first set of demand wants to see Finance Minister Samuel Tweah and Central Bank Governor Nathaniel Patray dismissed and turned over for prosecution; and that the president declare his asset to know how he got the many properties he has acquired in just one and a half years; we also want this President, George Gbekugbeh Weah, to get his Jamaican wife out of our national budget where she receives US$1.5 million in the name of charity,” Costa said to the delight of his supporters.

He added, “Until these demands are met, we cannot leave from here, but to stay right here and it is the beginning of subsequent protests; the rest of the demands could be addressed in days to come, but these first three are the immediate ones.”

A day earlier, there was no telling how well attended the planned June 7 “peaceful protest” would have been, since institutions, including some religious and civil society groups had cautioned people to stay away from the street to avoid trouble. Prior to the day of the protest, rumors had spread that there would be violence and bloodshed recalling the 1979 event that witnessed looting of properties and deaths of some “protesters.”

Furthermore, officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) besieged the home of tough-talking Montserrado County District #10 Lawmaker Yekeh Kolubah on Wednesday, June 5, to arrest him. However Kolubah’s supporters prevented the LNP from arresting him until a delegation of the ECOWAS observers that came to monitor the protest, along with some of his colleagues from the 54th House of Representatives, accompanied him to the LNP Headquarters.

That same day, Rep. Kolubah’s home was also searched on the order of the Montserrado County Attorney on suspicion that, as a former combatant of the Liberian civil war and stern critic of the George Weah Administration, the lawmaker may have been in possession of arms.

There was heavy security presence along the main Tubman Boulevard and some major streets in Monrovia. They were all in new uniforms and riot gear; and vehicles heading to and coming from central Monrovia were thoroughly searched by the joint security officers, assisted by boy scouts.

All these conditions built public sentiment that the protest may be marred by violence; nevertheless, the thousands of protesters, who made their way to the Capitol Hill dispelled the sentiment when they conducted themselves so orderly during the protest.

Many of the protesters were heard advising one another to avoid any act that may spark violence; and some intruders, who attempted causing trouble were turned over to the police without being treated otherwise.

A couple of speakers were also civil, but remained candid in their statements demanding to present their petition to President Weah or his Vice President, Jewel Howard-Taylor, both overwhelmingly elected by the people.

ECOWAS Ambassador, Others

ECOWAS Ambassador to Liberia, Babatunde Ajisomo, commended the protesters for “being very peaceful and confident in registering their concerns to the government.” Ajisomo then pledged ECOWAS’ commitment to peace in Liberia.

Benoni Urey, head of the collaborating political parties and political leader of the opposition All Liberian Party (ALP), called on the protesters to remain peaceful, but resilient in ensuring that their demands are met.

“This country is for all of us. No one owns this country more than the other, not the opposition political parties, but every Liberian owns Liberia, and therefore, the resources must be distributed fairly and should not be used to benefit a few group of people,” Urey said.

Alternative National Congress (ANC) political leader, Alexander B. Cummings, motivated the protesters to believe in their own efficacies, and take responsibility for the country without compromising what is good for it.

Cummings, like Urey, called for a peaceful engagement, and urged protesters not to repeat what others did that “sent a bad signal out there about Liberia’s governance system.”

University professor and former student activist, Alaric Tokpah, cautioned the government not to take the power of the people and the Constitution of Liberia lightly, cautioning that doing so is an act of undermining oneself.

According to irrefutable sources, protesters were sharing views and admiring themselves for having a peaceful protest as they were leaving the Capitol Hill without any report of violence; and were challenging the ruling establishment that they were just starting.

“Until George Weah can meet up with our demands, we will still come in the street and we believe the next turnout will be bigger than this one, because the situation today (Friday, June 7) will tell scary people that we are not out for violence, but peace,” two of the protesters said.

10 COMMENTS

  1. TO ALL LIBERIAN AND PLEASE GO BACK TO THE FUTURE BECAUSE THEY ARE ASKING FOR THE PRESIDENT GEORGE M.WEAH TO GAVE COP , MURDEREDS , ANC AND HENRY COSTA RADIO STATION FOR THE PRESIDENT GEORGE M.WEAH ASSET AS PRESIDENT GEORGE M.WEAH. WILL YOU GIVE YOUR ASSETS AND ALL THEIR LEADERS AND COUNCIL OF PATRIOTS PLAYERS TO MAKE A ASSETS TOO. BUT YOU NEVER ASKED FOR ASSETS OF CHARLES TAYLOR , AMOS SAWYER , AND ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF AND YOU REQUESTED FROM THE PRESIDENT. HENRY COSTA YOU ARE REGISTERED AS A POLITICAL PARTY. PETITIONS FROM THE THREES PARTYS NEED TO REGISTER OKAY. THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS HAVE THE POWER TO ASK THE PRESIDENT TO RECEIVE A. NOT YOU.

    LET GO TO THE STUDENTS OF UNIVERSITY OF LIBERIA, IF THE FIND OUT THEY RIGHTLY BREAK THE LAW OF LIBERIA CONSTITUTION AND ARRESTED THEM IN PRISONS AND THEY ARE TO PAY BAIL OUT OF PRISON.

    THAT IS THE LAW OF LIBERIA AND THE LAWS OF THE WORLD AND IN AMERICA TOO. HENRY COSTA YOU DO KNOW THE LAW OF LAND AND IT IS NOT SOMETHING YOU DO KNOW. YOU ARE PLAYING WITH FIRE AND YOU ARE NOT TO ASK YOURSELF AS PRESIDENT.
    YOU ARE TO GO THROUGH THE PROCESS OF LAW OF LIBERIA. BUT NATIONAL ELECTIONS.
    DICTATORSHIP IS A WHAT YOU TRYING TO DO IN LIBERIA.

    • IF you were one of the student arrested or your son or your blood brother for coming out to speak will you give this go ahead to have them arrested and kept in jail without been tried? think and don’t talk because u are eating or ate some of the money that got missing maybe. there is a need to refund the missing money. this is all Liberians run after from the level of President to the poor man. SO should the missing money go like that? will the others accused be left free because they are in the government? why Liberians just believe in stealing to get rich? IF you don’t want to steal but work they call you pastor? stop supporting wrong and telling lies. in America and few yrs ago in Liberia, when a man commit a crime that is not death or criminal and his lawyer ask for him to be taken home and come back for investigation when call upon, that right is given. trust me if it was in your shoe you will say all the bad about the government. I am also from grand Kru but Weah is bring shame on our name. Please stop referring to country or tribe so people cannot come after the innocent from there. I will never take any money from Weah nor his government that is stolen, even if I get to know it was stolen I will replace it when given to me. it is for Liberia and Liberians not one person. one day the true will come to light very soon

  2. FROM NYANFORE KIAH NYANFORE AND NIMLEY ,JAPPA, WOLO, DAGBAYONOH AND TWO BROTHERS NIMLEY AND JAMES FROM GRANDCESS AND GRAND KRU.

  3. Undoubtedly, weeks of well-publicized inflammatory statements by Rep. Kekeh Kulubah and Mr. Henry Costa plus concerns about Collaborative Opposition Parties’ decision in delegating execution of ultimatum for “mass civic action across Liberia” (June 7) to a COP led by ex-Rebels elected as legislators had created nationwide fear. So, millions of our people are thankful to God and grateful for a non-violent outcome ensured through tireless coordinated efforts of all parties: COP, Regional & International Representatives, Security Sector, LNP, and the entire government.

    This is why some of us are saddened by Mr. Costa’s “More Protests to Follow June 7”. The declaration could be interpreted one way or the other; intention of provoking confrontation, or gambit on staying atop the publicity pole no matter economic effects. The fact of the matter is that Ch.111, Article 17 which grants right “to assemble and … to petition government or other functionaries… for redress of grievances” doesn’t say the President or Vice President should receive petition; or, for that matter, redress instantaneous regardless of capacity to deliver.

    For heaven’s sake, let the COP renegotiate a date of presenting their demands (without protesters and hecklers) to GMW. No one won on June 7, God showered his manifold mercies on Mama Liberia. Forcing a second round will show lack of sympathy for millions undergoing more than a dozen years of pervasive poverty, whose suffering ostensibly was the rationale. Our people deserve no extended anxieties! As famed humanitarian activist and journalist Elie Wiesel notably observed, “Hope is like peace. It is a gift only we can give one another”.

    Frederick Jayweh,

  4. By the way, who are these campaigners? Are they part of the original settlers, tribesmen, elders and chiefs, their sons and daughter and those that follow? A club of looters from the last civil war? Why do we see so many strange Liberians emerge out of a civil war to protest while some came for pieces of our residues and apt to steer up street peddlers and stragglers in the interest of few opposition candidates as a way to state power? Liberians know themselves and emblems. We do not wear at heart levels unless with lowering the Liberian star when the need be. All true Liberians should do their normal duties and local activities. We know the owners of this land of liberty on the west coast of Africa. Not all Liberians live on the coast. Not all are coastal, Liberians do not crave coastal names. If there is another protest you as a Liberian should have a reason why and this reason should make sense before joining the group. You have your option but be careful and present your plead like Liberians otherwise do not join. The President has no alternative but to listen to the Liberian people, as long as it is presented the Liberian way. If most of the people marching are not actual Liberians, it will be easy to tell. We do not need I-D cards for that. Liberians are easily noticed by ourselves. Just return home or stay away from trouble makers when you see them on the street or hear what they say about us Liberians. Let Liberians see what the next year will bring. We can improve our economic condition ourselves. We should not depend on corrupt officials or another nation to do. Just do not give them your Liberian monies again unless there a legitimate services rendered or goods exchanged in return. Tell only God you problem. Do not reply me.
    In silent meditation.

  5. Legitimate services meaning in the exchange of local goods and services in return for our resources and Liberian monies to improve the well being of the Liberian nation and restructure what has been lost. Putting in the right people in Government to service the people and not a few demanding wealth and power through demonstrations to present to themselves. God bless Liberia. Do not disturb.

  6. The following phrase raised my eyebrows. Paragraph 5 reads

    “….get his Jamaican wife out of our national budget where she receives US$1.5 million in the name of charity…”

    Now, pray tell me, why did he have to mention the ancestral origin of the first lady ? That is a “national-origin” dog whistle.

    This is one of the things I hate about Liberians, especially those in the diaspora.

    Those of us who reside in the U.S. know very well that there are consequences for making statements that cast aspersion on others race, national origin, etc.

    People get fired, athletes lose corporate sponsorship, and event boycotts occur.

    One would think that a person who normally resides in Wilmington, Delaware would know better and take positive American cultural values to Liberia. Sadly, he is part of the problem.

    Since Eugene Fahngon was criticized [ and suspended by President Weah ] for introducing the age-old Americo-Liberian vs. Indigenous cleavage into the protest discussion, I think it should be a matter of fairness for the public to criticize Costa for making references to the ancestral origins of Weah’s wife.

    I’ll be watching for the reaction of others who post comments relating to this news report.

    Interest of disclosure : Since April 12, 1980, I have been on the receiving end of paternal origin slurs and dog whistles in and out of Liberia. So, this one is a bit personal for me.

  7. Either the public missed this or they’re not bothered by Costa’s comment about Mrs. Weah ‘s Jamaican ancestry.

    • No, Renford, the public did not miss anything in Henry Costa’s statement. Rather it is you, unfamiliar with the contextual underpinning of that statement that have the problem. All others that have paid keen attention to Clar Weah’s nationality and political activities in Liberia, is aware that she has not naturalized, yet she voted in the past election. Now as the American-democracy-advocate and transfer of American values to Liberia preacher you are, could that ever happen or be permitted here in the US, wherein anyone who has no business voting in any American election is caught doing so, and no one should say anything about it? And not that such has never happened here in the US, but indeed, there are consequences, if that individual is caught. That’s the basis of Costa’s alarm and nothing xenophobic as you might have thought. Hope this brings you up to speed with that reality, thus forestalling any further knee-jerk reaction. Thank you.

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