Day one of what appears to be several days of planned protest has ended in Monrovia with no compromise reached between the government of Liberia and Protesters under the banner, Council of Patriots (COP).
Liberian Protesters On June 7th
The much publicized protest began Friday, June 7, 2019 with the protesters demanding that they can only deliver their petition to President George Weah or Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor.
Earlier, President George Weah designated his Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor to be the one to receive the petition from the Council of Patriots.
Is not clear why the Vice President did not show up as expected, but multiple sources close to the office of the VP said, she was unable to show up due to illness.
Protest Organizers Henry P. Costa (in white top) Marching With Protesters
However, the government requested the leadership of COP to hand deliver their petition to Foreign Minister Gbezongar Findley – a decision protesters vehemently rejected, saying, they cannot present their petition to an appointed official.
Among other demands, the protesters are demanding that Finance Minister Samuel Tweh and Central Bank Governor Nathaniel Patray be dismissed and turned over to the Justice Ministry for prosecution for their roles in the mismanagement and misapplication of the US$25 million allocated for a mop up of excess Liberian dollar liquidity.
The protesters also want the government to find solution to the persistent skyrocketing of the US dollar against the Liberian dollar.
The protesters further indicated that they want an immediate end to what they described as massive corruption and bad governance, which, according to them have hampered Liberian’s image abroad.
ECOWAS Official Addressing Protesters
The protest which has been described by many including international media outlets as the most peaceful post war protest, was by monitored by both local and international observers including Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS). Local officials of ECOWAS in Monrovia were seen working alongside their Liberian counterparts to ensure peaceful and orderly protest.
Liberian Security Officers
Elites forces of the Liberian joint security were also seen posted at various points to ensure that things were under control.
Observers say this was the first time in several years in Liberia that a mass protest has been held without any scuffle between the police and protesters, even though tension heightened between the police and supporters of one of the leaders of the protest a day prior to the much publicized June 7 protest.
Meanwhile, after several failed attempt to deliver the their protest petition, the leadership of the protest appealed to their supporters to go home and prepare themselves for the next course of action, which will be announced on Monday, June 10, 2019.
By Paul Kanneh in Monrovia
West African Journal Magazine