By Lewis S. Teh
The Executive Director of the People Action Network (PAN) Amb. Rufus Dio Neufville has called on the Weah administration through the Ministry of Justice to initiate a long prison sentence for perpetrators of the July 26 violence that left several members of the campus-based Vanguard Students Unification Party from the University of Liberia.
Amb. Neufville made the call on Monday, August 1, 2022, when he spoke to group of young people in Du-Port Road Community, Paynesville, outside Monrovia.
The former lawmaker and student leader noted that the framers of the Liberian constitution deliberately protected the rights of all persons, at all times, in an orderly and peaceable manner to assemble and call upon their leaders in demand of change, and to address whatever challenges they may encounter.
According to him, said right is guaranteed under Article 17 of the 1986 Constitution, and should not be disturbed by unknown individuals or reactionary elements.
The former Chief of Protocol, who also served as Standard Bearer of the Student Integration Movement (SIM) at the University of Liberia, lamented the brutal attack on some members of SUP particularly Comrade Christopher Walter Sisulu Sivili and others must be condemned by all campus-based political parties and student organizations across the country.
“Some of us were student leaders; seeing the gruesome attack carried out against the most popular campus-based vanguard Students Unification Party at the state-run University of Liberia by pro-government supporters is worrisome, such action must never have a place in our democracy”, he added.
He said SUP has always been in the business of fighting for social justice and academic freedom in Liberia since 1970, and that July 26 protest was meant to draw the government’s attention to the massive suffering that citizens are undergoing, and to remind them of their campaign promises.
“We all know the history of SUP since its founding; they spoke against some of the bad policies of past regime, including Presidents Tubman, Tolbert, Doe, Taylor, Blah and Sirleaf.” He said even during wartimes, the vanguard party stood against Interim Leaders Sawyer, Kpormakpor, Sankawulo, Perry and Bryant.
He continued that another thing government must know about SUP is that they don’t mourn their dead or worry over the wounded, saying “They don’t cry; as a matter of fact, they celebrate these people as STRUGGLE ICONS.”
Neufville noted that the more you hit at the militants of SUP, the more they struggle and the more they multiply.
However, he stressed the need to protect the peace of Liberia, cautioning “When we allow injustice and chaos to engulf the land, we will suffer the agonizing consequences.”
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, including a video of one of them that was stripped naked for protesting against the government.