Independence celebration turns bloody
As CDC - COP counters SUP
As CDC – COP counters SUP
By Lincoln G. Peters
Liberia’s 175th Independence Day celebration turned bloody on Tuesday, 26 July 2022 when government supporters countered student protesters.
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 (UL).
Following the attack outside the United States Embassy near Monrovia, 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.
The two opposing groups clashed outside the United States Embassy where the students had gone to stage the protest while the official Independence Day program was ongoing at the Centennial Pavilion on Ashmum Street.
According to the protesting students, their peaceful gathering was intended to call the attention of national and international communities to societal problems.
They cited alleged increase in corruption, bad governance, mysterious deaths and disappearances, Sexual and Gender – Based Violence and economic hardship.
The students noted that these conditions have left the masses in extreme poverty and suffering.
The students’ initial plan was to gather on the University of Liberia’s Capitol Hill Campus before the protest.
But they suddenly avoided meeting on the campus after allegedly receiving intelligence that members of the ruling CDC – Council of Patriots had besieged the campus as early as 6:50A.M. on 26 July.
Their decision to meet outside the U.S. Embassy to avoid a counter – protest did not help, as government supporters moved on the students and inflicted wounds.
Two militants of SUP who went on the Capitol Hill campus without prior notice that it had been besieged by government supporters were beaten.
The fight continued throughout Central Monrovia with CDC – COP chasing SUP militants all over the city.
After the fight, members of some of the affected communities accused the CDC – Council of Patriots of allegedly damaging their properties and food with stones.
Some residents said their phones got missing when members of the CDC – COP entered their homes.
In interview with the head of the CDC – COP Ben Togba, he said they were out to protect and provide security for the government and its officials from every protest that does not have any basis and foundation.
He denied claims by residents of the Robert Street Community that the CDC- COP entered their homes and stole their properties.
“My brother we are here to provide security and protection for the government. We are not here to entertain any violence and unrealistic protest in this country,” he said.
Mr. Togba accused the militants of SUP of moving into the homes of peaceful citizens and making away with their belongings.
In a conversation with SUP chairman on Propaganda, Mohammed Shabazz Jalloh, he accused Monrovia City Mayor Jeffreson Tamba Koijee of being the mastermind of disrupting SUP’s protest.
“Mayor Koijee sent thugs with guns to kill peaceful students exercising their constitutional rights at the U.S. Embassy near Monrovia,” Jalloh alleged.
“To our people, this is what the regime you elected [is] doing to your children. A dark cloud has covered Liberia under President George M. Weah,” he added.
He claimed that Liberia is going back to the days of terror.