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Planned April 12 demonstration called off

By Jos Ganeo Cephas
Some demonstration scene held  in Monrovia
Some demonstration scene held in Monrovia

(mylbsonlins/Liberia)-The much publicized April 12 planned demonstration, expected to have taken place in Liberia, has been called off by its planners.

The decision follows the interventions by Liberia’s Inter-faith religious body, the National Traditional Council of Liberia, and Vice President, Joseph Boakai.

The organizing groups, ‘Citizens for Change’ and the ‘Coalition for the Transformation of Liberia’ said: “We have agreed to cancel the Friday 12th April, 2013 street demonstration, because of the groups’ intervention.”

“The calling off  of the protest should, in no way, be interpreted as the end of our quest for the government to act on a number of recommendations that we have put forth”, the demonstration planners said.

In their recommendations, the groups are calling on government to address what they called: “Nepotism, massive corruption, increased poverty, high unemployment rate, and the high cost of living” now prevailing in Liberia.

Article 17 of the Liberian Constitution guarantees every citizen or group’s fundamental right to freedom of expression and assembly, however, the same constitution obligates the government to ensuring that public safety is, as well, guaranteed.”

The Liberian Government had requested that the organizers provide information on where the demonstration would start and which routs they would use to enable state security provide protection for them, but they refused to do so.

The Citizens for Change and the Coalition for Transformation were not granted permit by the Ministry of Justice to carry out such planned demonstration.

State security issued stern statements Thursday 4th April, 2013 at the Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism’s regular weekly press briefing in Monrovia.

The statements were intended to draw the demonstration planners’ attention to constitutional provisions that mandate it to ensuring that the peace and security Liberians and foreign residents now enjoy in the country is not disturbed.

The national security said: “We recognize the constitutional rights of every citizen, or group to protest, however, if such protest fails to follow legal and constitutional procedures, we will not sit supinely and allow the rights of the majority Liberians be violated”.

Defense Minister, Brownie Samukai, said: “A portion of the National Army will be placed on alert, beginning 10th April, 2013 to act, along with the National Police and other security apparatus, to avert any act of lawlessness on April 12, if necessary.”

He further said: “It is time that Liberians and foreign residents enjoy an unhindered peace and tranquility in the country without being threatened daily”.

“Let the religious and traditional leaders, including elders, use their influence and call on the organizers of the planned demonstration to abandon same,” Police Inspector-General, Christ Massaquoi, appealed.

Mr. Massaquoi admonished all Liberians and other residents of Liberia to remain peaceful in the wake of the planned demonstration.

“I can assure the populace of the Police’s readiness to professionally perform its duty to protect lives and properties to sustain the peace,” the Police Inspector-General added.


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