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Gonquoi says after incarceration

By Winston W. Parley

The head of pressure group Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia (EFFL), Emmanuel Gonquoi says he has “absolutely no regrets” for his action to have locked the Capitol Building, the official home of Liberian legislators, saying he would lock the Executive Mansion if he is given the opportunity today.

“The government said that we locked the Capitol Building and we have absolutely no regrets for our action. If you give us an opportunity today we will lock the Executive Mansion,” Mr. Gonquoi said Tuesday, 10 August 2021 following his release from a night of detention at the Monrovia Central Prison.

Based on prosecutors’ complaints, Gonquoi and three other suspects were Monday, 9 August jailed at the Monrovia Central Prison or South Beach on multiple charges including terroristic threat, simple assault, felonious restraint, and disorderly conduct.

But he told reporters outside the prison compound Tuesday that he “had a very beautiful experience,” saying their incarceration provided room to see life outside their comfort zone.

He criticized Liberian legislators for making appropriation in the Budget for themselves, while the vast majority of the people here cannot afford to cater to themselves.

“And we believe constitutionally that every government is constituted on the shoulders of the people. So we as a people decided to take aggressive and revolutionary steps to ensure that we erect checks and balances when our lawmakers cannot do so. And that’s the reason why we locked the Capitol Building. We have no apology,” he said.

 Their detention followed an arrest order issued by the Monrovia City Court on Friday, 6 August in the wake of prosecutors’ complaint, accusing Gonquoi and his EFFL group of violently attacking the gate of the Capitol Building opposite the Executive Mansion, beating and inflicting injuries on security guards assigned there.

The accused appeared before the court Monday morning to respond to the writ of arrest issued by the court, but they later ended up in jail due to their filing a criminal appearance bond.

In their complaint, prosecutors informed the court that on 21 July 2021 at about 5:30 a.m., Gonquoi and other defendants dressed in red T-shirts who were said to have come from the EFFL went on the premises of the Capitol Building with violence and attacked the gate.

They accuse Gonquoi of allegedly raining insults publicly and intentionally breaking the lock before installing EFFL’s own chains with locks. Prosecutors alleged that EFFL had the intent to terrorize the public and staff at the Capitol.

They noted that the alleged act of the defendants was unlawful, wicked, illegal, violent, and intentional in violation of multiple provisions of the New Penal Law of Liberia.

In July Gonquoi and a few members of his EFFL group stormed the Legislature at dawn, calling on Legislators to return US$30,000 received by each of them for Legislative engagements.

Following the alleged attack at the Capitol, the Sergeant-at-Arms at the House of Representatives, General Martin Johnson, on 28 July called for the arrest of Mr. Gonquoi.

Gen. Johnson told this paper via mobile phone that he received a call from officers of the Legislative Security Service, complaining of some men dressed in red and black, allegedly led by Gonquoi, of locking the gate of the Capitol. He said the security officers informed him that the men fled the scene when a call was placed for backup.

While he faces multiple charges alleged by prosecutors, Mr. Gonquoi on 3 August 2021 said that EFFL planned legal action against the Legislature as a test of the independence of the judicial system here, saying the group was seeking restitution of over US$3m disbursed among lawmakers.

He added that EFFL was consulting with stakeholders- civil society organizations, student groupings, women and marketers, and ordinary citizens to brainstorm on their quest to test the independence of the judiciary here.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/liberia-gonquoi-others-locked-up/

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