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Govt bans political rallies, demonstrations and parades

By Patrick Flomo/Joseph T. Koon
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

(www.elbcradio.com/Liberia/Friday, Dec. 5, 2014)-The Liberian Government has banned mass movements of people, including all political rallies, demonstrations and parades in the country.

An Executive Mansion release says the ban will be implemented only during the conduct of the Special Senatorial Election and after the announcement of the election results.

The ban is Executive Order Number 65 issued by President Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf Thursday, December 4, 2014.

President Sirleaf said:”Executive Order Number 65 is absolutely necessary because the existing laws requiring persons desirous to march or demonstrate, to obtain prior authorization from the Ministry of Justice have proven to be in effective.”

The release also quotes the President as saying:”The ban is intended to strengthen the efforts of Government to contain the spread of the Ebola Virus, protect the security of the State, and maintain law and order, among others.”

Government said the increasing number of incidents of mass movements of people on the streets of Monrovia and its environs have reached an alarming proportion.

According to Government, unauthorized mass movements of people coupled with the obstruction of traffic and the free movement of peaceful citizens contravene the Vehicle and Traffic Laws of Liberia.

In recent weeks, the streets of Monrovia were the scenes of political rallies when campaigning for the December 16 Special Senatorial Election was ongoing.

Prior to the commencement of the campaign, the Liberian Government had earlier warned against public gatherings and urged Liberians and foreigners alike to observe the preventive measures of Ebola in the country.

At the same time, Government also announced a ban Saturday, November 29, 2014 (former President William V. S. Tubman’s Birthday) on public gatherings at all beaches in Monrovia and its environs to contain the spread of the virus.

In a related development, some political parties and civil society groups are opposed to the conduct of the December 16 Special Senator Election because of the Ebola crisis in the country.

They argued that the holding of the election was a Constitutional violation of Articles 1 & 2.  The group also filed a petition to the Supreme Court to halt the holding of the election.

They also cited the new cases of Ebola outbreak recently reported in Monrovia and other parts of the country as a result of mass public gatherings and disregard of Ebola preventive measures.

The Supreme Court, therefore, placed a stay order Friday, November 29, 2014 on all electoral activities in Liberia till the constitutionality of the petitioners’ complaint is addressed.

 


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