The government of Liberia through the Ministry of Justice has condemned. and defended the counter clash that ensued between members of the Vanguard Students Unification Party (SUP) at the state-run University of Liberia (UL) and the ruling Coalition for Democracy Change (CDC) Council of Patriots.
According to the Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism in a statement issued late Wednesday evening July 27, 2022 said that at no time where they ever written nor communicated by the both groups in order for the state to provide security for them.
“A formal request for any such action is a cardinal requirement by law, which can be conveyed through a written petition to the Ministry of Justice for a permit.
The Liberia National Police Act of 2015 Section III Article 22.86 which also deals with Public Order mandates any persons wanting to hold such a march or protest to contact the Minister of Justice in keeping with the law” the statement under the signature of Information Minister Ledgerhood J. Rennie quoted.
It further that had such a request come to the Ministry of Justice, the government would have acted to ensure public safety and order by scheduling the rival groups at different times.
The statement however, said that the government is encouraging all individuals who witnessed the Tuesday, July 26 violence to assist the Police with its investigation. They can be assured that their identities will be protected and information held confidentially, the statement said.
The Attorney General, Cllr. Frank Musah Dean Jr., has accordingly called on the Police to ensure that perpetrators are brought to book in keeping with the laws of Liberia.
“The government wants to make it clear that while it encourages all citizens to express their views on national issues their methods must be in conformity with law. Articles 13 and 15 of the Liberian Constitution guarantee such rights”
The statement further that the named constitutional provisions however clearly express the safeguarding of public order, public safety as well as rights and freedom of others.
The statement revival that the Ministry of Justice also wants to make it clear that it did not receive a request from any group to march in the streets of Monrovia on Tuesday, July 26, whether in protest for or against the Liberian government.
At the same time, the Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Justice, also categorically condemned what its calls “The street violence” that happened in Monrovia on Tuesday, involving two rival groups purporting to be some students of the University of Liberia of campus-based Students Unification Party (SUP) and the CDC-COP.
The Ministry said it has accordingly directed the Inspector General of Police to launch an immediate and full-scale investigation into the incident.
It disclosed that images of the violence being posted on social media show unwarranted use of force and maltreatment of some participating youths which has no place in our newfound democracy.
Meanwhile, the Liberia National Police in a statement has with immediate effect launched an investigation into clashes that took place in front of the United States Embassy near Monrovia on Independence Day between vounter-protesters.
The Police also expressed concerned about a viral video on social media in which a person was seen being mobbed and humiliated.
The released noted that the LNP administration condemns the barbaric action of the perpetrators and will leave no stone unturned in administering justice to the victims, adding that as matter of urgency, a full scale investigation has been launched to ensure that perpetrators are booked and made to face the full weight of the law.
“The LNP rejects claims that it was on the scene when the fracas ensued between the opposing protesting groups yesterday; and did nothing to halt the incident. LNP clarifies that instead, it was the intervention of the Police that quieted yesterday’s brawl; after officers assigned at the front view of the US Embassy, called for backup which brought the dispute under control.
By: Stephen G. Fellajuah