4 October 2013

Liberia: Protest Leaders Detained

Six protesters, only told to escort the police to Monrovia and discuss their grievances with the government over their dispute with the China Union in Bong Mines, are currently facing interrogation, police said. According to Foday Fahnbulleh, the leader of the strike under police detention, they were persuaded to come to Monrovia and hold discussion with Justice Minister Christiana Tarr only to find themselves behind bars. Fahnbulleh, leader of the Fuamah Progressive Platform (FPP), a local thin-thank leading the crusade against the China Union mining company, named other detainees as Prince Kollie, Ruljim Jordan, Eric Tweah and Prince Momolu Kava, amongst others.

"We were told by Deputy Police Chief for Operation Abraham Kromah to come here (Monrovia) to meet Justice Minister Christiana Tarr to discuss the situation. But to our outmost surprise, we are being detained at the police headquarters," Fahnbulleh explained. Police Spokesman Sam Collins has confirmed that some of the protesters were helping the police with their investigation into Tuesday's demonstration that disrupted normal activities in Bong Mines. "I can confirm to you that these people are facing police investigation. They are not in jail but they are currently with the police undergoing investigation," Sam Collins told New Democrat during a telephone conversation Wednesday evening. "They're facing investigation because properties were destroyed during the protest in Bong Mines on Tuesday. Therefore, the police are questioning them," he pointed out. Normal activities came to a standstill in Bong Mines, Duama District, Tuesday when demonstrators took to their heels to protest against the failure of China Union to meet a host of demands. Riot police officers were reported to have opened fire in the air to disburse an angry crowd that had barricaded the track to prevent the train from transporting iron ore to Monrovia for export. There were no report of casualty but three women reportedly fainted.

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