The NEWS (Monrovia)

Liberia: Military Ready for Demonstrators

In the wake of the pending April 12 demonstration by some civil society groups, Defense Minister Brownie J. Samukai says the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) is in full readiness to support the Liberia National Police to ensure peace and stability in the country.

Minister Samukai said considering the seriousness government attaches to the peace Liberia is enjoying, it would do everything possible to ensure the safety of its people.

The Defense Minister disclosed that a section of the AFL will be on standby at the Barclay Training Center (BTC) to make sure that those who want to disrupt the peace and stability of Liberia are not allowed to do so.

Minister Samukai spoke Thursday at the Information Ministry regular press briefing in Monrovia.

He said the 2008 National Defense Act gives the AFL the right to support the police to maintain law and order once requested.

Minister Samukai said if a request is made, the AFL will use all of its capability to support the Liberia National Police to protect lives and properties.

"You better stay home and fast and pray...if you come to cause chaos, we stand ready to use all leather capabilities," the defense Minister stressed in a seriously spoken military language.

He said while it is true that the demonstrators have the right to demonstrate, they must do so in line with the law by applying for permit to ensure that the police provide security.

Minister Samukai said up to present, the organizers are yet to apply for permit therefore they do not have any right to demonstrate.

Minister Samukai disclosed that the AFL will begin deployment on April 10 in and around Monrovia.

He warned the organizers to desist from carrying out any illegal demonstration as government will not hesitate to use whatsoever available means to ensure the safety of its people.

"We will deal with individuals who want to cause chaos in the country," the Minister stressed.

The Defense Minister said those who will be caught carrying out illegal demonstration or protest will be held accountable and responsible for their action.

Minister Samukai stated that government cannot afford for the peace currently being enjoyed by Liberians to be threatened by individuals who have sinister motives adding that "all will be done to protect the hard earned peace."

For his part, Police Director Chris Massaquoi said the police have the right to protect lives and properties and will not run away from its responsibilities.

He said though the organizers have the right to demonstrate, but they, as required by the 1975 statues, have to apply for permit.

Director Massaquoi said in the absence of a permit, no one will be allowed to demonstrate because they would infringe on the rights of others.

He warned that any group of persons caught demonstrating illegally will be dealt with in accordance with the law.

The Police Director said the LNP stands ready to deal with any situation on April 12 as no one will be allowed to undermine the peace and stability of Liberia.

Several civil society organizations have planned to carry out what they called 'peaceful' demonstration on April 12, 2013 to call for the resignation of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for promoting corruption, nepotism and other societal ills.

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