Monrovia — As June 7 edges closer, many Liberians including international partners are becoming more apprehensive over what to expect from the protest, which is being organized by the Council of Patriots.
In the midst of these brewing apprehensions, Deputy Information Minister (now suspended) Eugene Fahngon took to his Facebook page and announced a counter-protest under the banner, "Assembly of Country People on Day Two of the "Save the State' protest on June 8, 2019".
Following a FrontPage Africa's publication on Monday May 6, his comments were immediately condemned by the United States Embassy near Monrovia.
Fhangon was subsequently suspended indefinitely by President George Weah.
Prior to Fahngon's suspension, FPA microphone visited several parts of Paynesville and Monrovia respectively and sampled cross-section of citizens' views on the suspended Deputy Minister's comments.
George P. Karr University of Liberia
"Our economy has crumbled already and it is even being flushed in the commode. This is a demonstration (June 7) to tell the government to double up its efforts. As a student of the University of Liberia, I would like to say that Minister Fahngon is in error. According to Article 17 of the Constitution of Liberia, people should have the right to assemble and make their petitions known to the Legislature and government. The fact that the people have informed the government about this protest, the government must see reason to listen to the plight of the people as they demonstrate peacefully. As they assemble to express their grievance. Furthermore, it makes no senses for any pro-government protesters to jump in the streets. As a government, you can't petition yourself and you can't even protest. The people are marching to show it to the government that they are not happy over the way things are going, then you say you want to march? To do what? To provoke people and cause what?"
Lasana Nyanmah, UL
"I am greatly disappointed in this Deputy Minister. I think he wants to bring chaos in this country. I think it is our constitutional right to assemble and send a clear caveat to the government to prioritize out interest. Whenever you see protesting, it means they are not satisfied. There is a need to improve the economy and transform the livelihood of the people of Liberia. Faghngon's call for counter protest will create a serious catastrophe because I can recall on April 14, 1979, when a group of peaceful citizens gathered on Gurley Street to protest, Tolbert's government send in soldiers to disrupt the gathering and this led to complete chaos."
Jacqueline Brownell, Secretary-General, Women Presidium of the Student Unification Party, UL.
"It is the constitutional right of the people to assemble. So, whenever people are protesting, it is because they are dissatisfied; not because they want to be violent. And they feel the only way they can express their grievances is through protest. What the government should be doing is providing security because the protest announced is a peaceful protest. The government's duty is to provide security to guard the people when they are protesting, not to come up with a counter protest. It shows that they have different intentions and their minds are not clear. I condemn the action."
Boimah Gordon, Student of Economics, University of Liberia
"The assertions of Eugene Fahngon is not necessary because the Constitution gives everyone the right to assemble and express their grievances. Coming with a counter protest is dead wrong and should not be supported by anyone. Channeling your grievances through protest in Liberia is not strange. Even the current ruling party did it when they were in opposition. They towed caskets around here in the name of protests. The likes of Acarous Gray, Jefferson Koijee, Morbah Morlu, to name a few, all protested here. So let them give the people a chance. For this government or any individual to counter the protest will lead to chaos."
Irene T. Clarke, Vendor, Redlight Market
"If you see people going into the streets to protest tells you that something is wrong somewhere. Things are getting very, very though every day. Prices of goods are sky high. L$500 cannot buy anything good these days. And the US rate is just climbing high. The Government should do something about it. We are not saying that things should go back to the old ways at once but the government should ensure that things get at the normal level. So, the best thing that this government can do is to listen to the people and not to make them angry more. We don't want violence."
Victoria Y. Temon, Vendor, Red Light Market
"The reason we want to protest is things prices are too high. Prices of commodities are high. We want to protest so that the President can see how best to drop the prices of goods and to remove those people who are in the right place at the wrong time. People like Jefferson Koijee, Nathaniel McGill and Samuel Tweah, let them be removed. They are not doing their job properly. They don't mean well for the Liberian people. We don't want violence that's why we will be peaceful."
Abraham Dominic, Money Exchanger, Red Light Market
"Fahngon is not well knowledgeable to the terrain. He does not know the day to day activities and the plights of the Liberian people. He came to that position after the elections when he had that program in the United States. We don't know what he was doing there. But he came because he denigrated other people and promoted the CDC during the elections. That was the reward they gave him by offering that position to him. But he does not even understand the average Liberian's thinking. That's why he is talking about putting up a counter protest. These are men that are going in the streets. He wants the state to come under another chaos. That protest (June 7) is something that is planned and organized. What the government can do is to listen to what the people are saying and address the issues they have problem with as soon as possible so that they can weaken the protesters."
Menwoe R. Cooper, resident of Paynesville
"I am not happy with the entire issue of the demonstration. What we want is for President George Manneh Weah to do the right thing. He was elected by the people. So, what the people want him to do, he should do it. That will be in our interest. The economic situation, the US rate is too high, the price of the nation's staple food is going high. He should address them."
Makpah Flahn, Markerter, Red Light
"In this [President] George Weah's time, things are very hard. Ma Ellen's time things were better but we never knew. We were talking that things were hard and not knowing we were going to see the worst part. Price of a Cup of rice is very high at L$50 whereby during Ma Ellen's time it was less than L$30. So, I want those people to go into the streets to let the President know that things are not fine with us. But for other government people to jump in the streets will be bad. Because when the two groups meet, it will cause violence. We don't want violence. We voted for [President] George Weah for things to be good but for now, things are difficult. So, he should do all he can do to make us laugh; especially we, the children mother and not to make us sad and cause violence."
Morris Dennis, Money Exchanger, Red Light
"If Eugene Fahngon puts anybody out on that day, he will be provoking the people that will come out to express their grievances. The only thing that I want for this government to do is to give the people maximum security. If Eugene Fahngon brings anybody out to say he's going to appreciate the President, he will be provoking the other people and we don't know what will spark out that day. If Fahngon wants to appreciate the President, why he never did it ever since but wait until an angry group of people decide to come out and express their grievances before you decide to get out and appreciate the President? That alone can lead to violence and I am not in favor of that. The government should provide security for the protesters and identify the protest leaders."
Lloyd Karley, Money Exchanger, GSA Road, Paynesville
"Eugene Fahngon should understand that he is part of the government. He should be there to see how best they can talk to the protesters to put stop to their plans. The too much of rights is what leading our country to a mess. As for Eugene Fahngon, he should have known better. I think the right time to have appreciated the President was during the CDC Government's first year anniversary and not when a group of people planned to protest as a way of expressing their grievances.
I am a born CDCian but I think President Weah needs to take legal action against Fahngon by putting him behind bars. People like Fahngon don't mean good for President Weah. They are some of the factors that leading this government into mess. Some of us voted for President Weah for a change but we are not seeing the change and Eugene Fahngon wants to add another pain to our suffering. The International Community is watching. These are some of the things that are happening in Venezuela and we know what the people there are going through."
Emmanuel B. Williams, Motorcyclist, GSA Road, Paynesville
"I think some of these guys who are around President Weah needs to be sensitive enough because you will not see opposition protesting then you, as a government official wants to launch a counter protest. It makes no sense. It causes chaos in the country. All you need to do is to leave the people, and after their protest, you can put your people in the streets and appreciate your government. I voted for CDC but I have realized that some of these guys don't mean well for the President. He should look around him and boot out the rotten bananas among the good ones."
Leroy Young, Concerned Youth, GSA Road
"I just have an advise for my brothers and sisters. During this peace rally, please stay home because if you go out, there might likely be massive demonstration and it is the young people that will be used. So please stay home. Don't allow anyone use you to cause violence. Say no to Fahngon"
Justice Taylor, Concerned Youth "I am calling on all my brothers to stay home and not to join Eugene Fahngon. Let's not allow anyone to fool us. To all my brothers that are in the streets, please don't allow anyone to use you to cause violence."