By Kruah Thompson
Renowned Liberian human rights lawyer and 2023 presidential hopeful Cllr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe has threatened legal action against those who have brutalized protesting students of the University of Liberia (UL) on Independence Day, 26 July 2022.
“Upon our return to Liberia, we will institute the appropriate legal action to hold accountable those responsible for this mindless display of such a devilish force against the peaceful and law-abiding students of the University of Liberia,” a statement quotes Cllr. Gongloe as saying.
Liberia’s 175th Independence Day celebration turned bloody on Tuesday, 26 July when government supporters countered student protesters outside the United States Embassy near Monrovia.
The ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) supporters calling themselves CDC Council of Patriots (CDC-COP) attacked and wounded several students of the campus-based Vanguard Students Unification Party (SUP) of the State-run University of Liberia.
Government is yet to make any arrest despite videos and photos of the perpetrators flooding social media, in addition to the suspects holding a press conference to justify their action.
Cllr. Gongloe is who currently exploring diaspora support for his presidential bid, has said in the dispatch that neither do Liberians want to live under government-created atmosphere of fear and intimidation.
He recalled that this was experienced through the brute force of the Tonton Macoute of Haiti under the rule of General Duvalier, Papa Doc.
“As a former Acting Chairman of the Student Unification Party (1981) and a past victim of state-sponsored brutality, I cannot sit by idly, and allow the gallant men and women of the Vanguard Student Unification Party, to be victims of state-sponsored terrorism,” said Cllr. Gongloe.
He called on President George Manneh Weah not only to condemn this act of savagery but to take the appropriate steps to bring to justice those responsible for the crimes committed against these peaceful citizens.
“President Weah has no other choice in this matter because the first and most important function of any government is to protect its citizens,” Gongloe argued.
He also called on all citizens of Liberia, irrespective of their political differences to speak with one voice in condemning the violence committed against members of SUP.
Following the attack outside the United States Embassy on Tuesday, social media was flooded with terrible images of wounded students and a video of one of them that was stripped naked for protesting against the government.
Some students narrowly escaped death at the hands of the CDC supporters.
Protester Christopher Walter Sisulu, who was seen being mobbed and humiliated by the CDC-Council of Patriots during Tuesday before the U.S. Embassy is currently receiving medication at a local hospital.
Anti-government protesters and pro-government supporters clashed here Tuesday when University of Liberia-based Student Unification Party staged a peaceful “fix the State” campaign.
But the protest turned bloody when the pro-government faction of the Council of Patriots violently engaged the protesting students.
The bloody violence has received public outcry with calls for suspected perpetrators to be brought to justice.
The opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) in a release on Wednesday, July 27, 2022, called on the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Cllr. Frank Musa Dean, Jr., to immediately order a full investigation of the incident.
In a letter to Minister Dean, with copies to the U.S. Embassy, AU, and ECOWAS, the ANC vehemently frowns on what it says appears to be a persistent pattern of grooming and institutionalizing domestic terror by the State to instill fear in the opposition community and silence dissenting voices.
The Liberia National Police is yet to make any arrests. Police Spokesman Moses Carter, who had earlier said a full investigation has been launched into the incident, calls on the public to help the Police with information. Editing by Jonathan Browne