Normal business activities and traffic flow were brought to a standstill when protesting students at the state-run University of Liberia staged a sit-in at the main street leading to the Fendell Campus outside Monrovia.
The students blocked a major highway intersecting the road to the campus in protest to the expulsion of one of their colleagues said to be a graduating senior, Alvin Wesseh, who has been accused by the UL Administration of allegedly inciting fellow students on campus.
Vehicles plying the Fendell-Careysburg and Bentol highways as well as those heading to and from Redlight in Paynesville were all stuck at the main Fendell intersection by the protesting students, who warn to extend their action to the UL Main Campus on Capitol Hill if their demand to reinstate expelled student Wesseh was not addressed.
Long before it was noon on Wednesday, October 21, instructors, lecturers and students abandoned classes due to fear of being harmed, as the protesters toured the campus, chanting “No Alvin Wesseh, no graduation!”
Dressed in their usual Khaki militant outfits, the protesters marched from the administrative building at Fendell and moved onto other facilities before blocking traffic outside the university’s fence.
Owing to the unsettled transportation problem between administration and students, those making their way out of Fendell Campus were constrained to risk their lives by riding commercial motorbikes, while others sat on top of commercial buses to get to Redlight.
Riot officers from the Police Support Unit of the Liberia National Police or PSU were immediately deployed in battle ready positions, and they later trucked more officers on the campus for reinforcement as tension flared.
The protesting students threatened the UL Administration with a law suit for what they call “unjustified expulsion” of Student Alvin Wesseh. Student Alfred Kadii, who formed part of the protest, told this paper in an exclusive interview that the administration needed to reconsider its decision or else they would have no option but to take the case to court.
He maintains they will not relent in seeking intervention of Civil Society Organizations and other humanitarian organizations and lawyers, as he argued that the very school that expelled Alvin since last year July provided a grade sheet for the expelled student from the previous semester and he (Wesseh) had obtained a pink sheet [course planning sheet] for the current semester.
Disorderliness was seen on campus when the militant students all dressed up in their khaki, symbolizing struggle while demonstrating against the expulsion of their Spokesman, Alvin Wesseh. As a result of the situation, the entire Fendell Campus appeared like a front-line yesterday with students running helter-skelter as the militants went from class to class, disrupting lectures.
The UL Police appeared unable to handle such situations on campus, and it took the effort of the riot police from LNP to get the students off the road after talking to them. Student Wesseh, who was studying agriculture at the University, had previously led so many advocacies for the students, including advocacy against increment in tuition and fees, including alleged threats to take over the dormitory in Fendell.
By Winston W. Parley & Ethel A. Tweh-Edited by Jonathan Browne