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Gov’t vs. protesters

-negotiation intensifies behind the scene

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Behind the scene negotiations are said to be ongoing for the Government of Liberia to dialogue with Liberians planning to assemble in Monrovia beginning 07 June to demand reforms in the governing process of the country, the New Dawn gathers.

2003 Nobel Peace Laureate and Professor of Law Ms Shirin Ebadi says, President George Manneh Weah has expressed his government preparedness to dialogue with the leadership of the 07 June protest, the ‘Council of Patriots.’

Ms Ebadi is among four eminent Nobel Peace Laureates from several countries attending three days Nobel Women’s Conference in Monrovia, under the theme: “Reclaiming Our Space.”
The conference has been taking place at the Monrovia City Hall and the peace laureates are guests of Liberia’s Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Leymah Gbowee.She broke the news Thursday, 02 May in a press conference at Belle Cassa Hotel in Sinkor, Monrovia.

Madam Ebadi observes the gap between the poor and the rich in Liberia is big and the government should work to sustaining the peace of the country.

She further reveals that President Weah informs them in a meeting that while he is willing to dialogue, they should equally prevail on the protest leadership or organizers to also cooperate with government.

According to her, government needs to do more in addressing some of the issues being raised by Liberians, as the surest way in moving the peace process forward, while urging the protesters to beware that no one is prepared or willing to come to Liberia should there be any crisis.

For her part, 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate Tawakkol Karman adds that during their meeting with President Weah, she encourages the government to take steps aimed at addressing problems affecting Liberians.
Madam Tawakkol Karman shares the 2011 Nobel Prize for Peace with former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Liberian activist, Leymah Gbowee.

She emphasizes that while she believes the government cannot do everything at once, equally so, it should focus on looking at some of the issues that are key to the growth and development of the country.

Making her contribution, 1992 Nobel Peace Laureate Rigpberta Menchu Tum, calls on all sides to see reasons to dialogue in moving the country forward.
She cautions that should there be any protest in the country, it should only involve students, not ordinary people to avoid violence.

She says government and citizens have a responsibility to seek a peaceful settlement, admonishing protesters to express their grievances under a peaceful atmosphere and ensure that the peace fought for by the international community is not reverted in any form or manner.

2011 Nobel Peace Laureate and founder of the Gbowee Peace Foundation, which hosts the four visiting laureates explains to reporters that she and her colleagues were assured by President Weah that he would dialogue with the leadership of 07 June protest, including the Economic Freedom Fighters, the Student Unification Party of the University of Liberia (UL) and Montserrado County District#10 Representative Yekeh Kolubah, who has been his bitter critic.

Madam Gbowee says it was astonishing to note that the only government referral hospital in central Liberia, Phebe, is faced with serious challenges such as lack of medicines and fuel, for which it on the verge of shutting down.

She calls on President Weah to do everything within his rich to ensure that the hospital is not closed to the public, because doing so would risk the lives of Liberians living in that part of the country, who have nowhere else to seek medication especially, children and the elderly.

Meanwhile, Madam Gbowee refutes reports that she provided money to a group of Liberians to join the planned protest, saying that under no condition she would provide money to people to protest even though it is the rights of citizens to express their grievances to their government, but under a peaceful and non-violent posture to sustain the hard earned peace brought to the country by the international community.

In what seems to be an impending showdown, the Ministry of Justice thru a written response here Wednesday, 01 May denied organizers of the protest permit on the basis of its illegality.

The Council of Patriots or COP had earlier written the government, detailing that the objective of its planned June 7 assembly is to draw the Weah-led government’s attention to alleged bad governance, corruption, mismanagement of state resources and flagrant violations of the Constitution, among others.

Its recent letter of request dated April 24, 2019, addressed to Justice Minister Cllr. Frank Musa Dean reads, “We write to inform you of our intention to hold a peaceful assembly scheduled to begin on Friday, June 7, 2019, and potentially last for several days in Monrovia.”

The COP’s letter continues, “During this peaceful assembly, we intent to present our grievances to the President and heads of the Legislative and Judiciary branches in the form of a written petition.” By Emmanuel Mondaye–Editing by Jonathan Browne

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