The New Dawn (Monrovia)

5 April 2013

Liberia: Defense Minister Dares Protesters

The planned April 12, 2013 protest by some Civil Society groups here has been seriously challenged by the Government of Liberia.

According to the Liberia National Police and the Ministry of National Defense, the government has not received any request from group of citizens wanting demonstrate on April 12, 2013.

Addressing a weekly press briefing at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs on Capitol Hill Thursday, Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, said the Armed Forces of Liberia will not allow protest in the capital.

He noted that the AFL is ready to deal with anybody that will take to the streets on April 12, 2013. The Defense Minister noted that the AFL will support the LNP in every way in preventing violence in the country.

According to the minister, he has received intelligence that protestors want to put kids on the streets as well, but warned, "Anyone one who will put a kid on the street that day to demonstrate, we will use rattan to whip [them]."

He urged the public to go about their normal business as the date (April 12) being announced for the protest is also 'Good Friday' and every Liberian supposed to fast and pray for the nation.

He noted that the protesters don't have permit from government to get into the streets, adding that government only received a letter, outlining changes they want in government, which does not qualify them to take the streets.

"They write, asking for permit, but they wrote that they wanted certain changes in government and if government fails to adhere to their demand, they could take the street," Minister Samukai said.

Also speaking at the press briefing, the Director of Police Clarence Massaquoi said, the police will make sure no one undermines the fragile peace all Liberians currently enjoy.

Massaquoi said it is the mandate of the LNP to enforce all laws and statutes of the Republic of Liberia without prejudice. "We don't interpret the laws, we enforce them", he noted.

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