The Liberia National Police or LNP has deployed riot forces of the Police Support Unit or PSU in Weala District, Margibi County after angry residents reportedly besieged the entrance to the offices of the Chinese International Construction Company, CICO for alleged damages inflicted on their properties.
The state-owned Liberia Broadcasting System ELBC, reported on its early morning magazine program ‘Super Morning Show’ Tuesday, 19 January via mobile phone from the district that over 400 residents of Weala gathered at the company’s offices in a peaceful protest demanding reparation for demolition of their homes thru blast in the soil by its yellow machines.
They have filed a formal complaint to authorities of the company, requesting for full assessment of properties damaged, including houses as a result of vibration from blasts of earth breaking machines with some of the affected structures at near collapse.
The affected residents are disenchanted about the manner in which the Chinese are operating in the county, and disclosed that chemical substances being used by CICO to break the earth have caused serious problem for them as impact from the vibration is cracking their homes.
The company is hired by the Government of Liberia to pave the Monrovia-Gbarnga and Ganta-Mardikoma highway. LBS quoted a spokesman for the aggrieved residents, Alonso Tucker, as saying the protest was peaceful and there is no intention to destroying company properties or whatsoever. “All that we are doing is to seek redress from this company or officials of government that will find a solution to our problem, because we can’t live in houses that are about to be collapsed”, Tucker is further quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, the residents have frowned on the deployment of riot police in their area when they are peaceful in their protest. They said rather than deploying the police, the government should intervene in having their concerns addressed by the company.
This is not the first time Weala residents are protesting against CICO management for allegedly damaging their properties. Women of the district sometime last year staged a peaceful sit-in before the company’s premises, demanding redress for both damaged homes and pollution.
By Lewis S. Teh-Edited by Jonathan Browne