Monrovia appears to be warming up ahead of the planned June 7 protest as police clashed with several demonstrators on Wednesday June 5, during series of protests involving supporters of the Council of Patriots and students of the University of Liberia.
These protests follow similar clashes on Monday June 3 between supporters of Rep. YerkehKolubah and supporters of the Coalition for Democratic Change government. Later that evening, students of the University of Liberia also staged a protest on their main campus forcing authorities to suspend student politics.
The clashes on Wednesday began when supporters of Rep.Kolubah, one of the leaders of the Council of Patriots or COP, the organizers of the planned June 7 protestwas escorted at the Liberian National Police Headquarters to provide information about an alleged assault that was said to have been carried out upon his order.
It all started early Wednesday morning, after Police Spokesperson Moses Carter called a local radio station informing the hosts that he had a breaking news which points to the allegation that Rep. Kolubah had ordered the flogging of a resident of his district and that he was resisting police arrest.
What really happened?
This paper independently learned that the particular individual who was allegedly ordered flogged by Rep. Kolubah was in fact a thief, who had snatched a phone from another resident and was beaten by angry residents.
Rep. Kolubah, according to a senior police source, was not even aware of the incident and that the victim whose phone was allegedly stolen was even at the police headquarters along with the one who had been allegedly flogged by angry residents. The source further told this paper that Rep. Kolubah had called him indicating his willingness to honor the police invitation but needed an escort.
What happened at the Police Headquarters?
Minutes after Rep. Kolubah arrived at the Police Headquarters escorted by Rep. Edwin Snowe of Bomi County, the situation turned a bit nasty when Rep. Kolubah’ssupporters who were demanding his immediate release engaged in a stone throwing battle with riot police.
The police dispersed the protesters when they fired tear gas canisters. One of Rep. Kolubah’s supporters appeared to have fainted and was carried away by police officers after he came in contact with one of the riot police officers, while an officer of the Liberian National Police sustained an injury when one of the stones hit his mouth breaking his teeth in the process.
What did the police say?
Police spokesman Moses Carter told this paper that Rep. Kolubah was not under arrest but that he had been invited to give an account about an incident that took place in his private compound.
Mr. Carter further explained that Rep. Kolubah was being released and that if there were further need of his presence by the police that would be done through the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
So how the UL students got involved?
Students of the state run University of Liberia came in the picture following the arrest of one of their leaders,Carlos TengbehEdison. He was picked up by plain cloth police officers and taken to the Police Headquarters. At the time of his arrest, the students had begun taking their mid-term exams.
The arrest disrupted the students’ midterm exams thereby forcing them to come out of their campus erecting road blocks as they demanded his immediate release as well.
How did the police respond?
The police responded by firing tear gas canisters to disperse the students. But the students re-grouped after businessman turned politician Benoni Urey and the spokesman for the June 7 protest, Henry Costa led them to the police headquarters to demand the release of the University student leader. The students later dispersed after they were informed by both Mr. Urey and Mr. Costa that they had secured their leader’s release.By Othello B. Garblah