-CoP chairman Costa reasons with US Ambassador, says "protest will start on July 31"
The leadership of the famous planned June 7 "Save the State" protest organized by the Council of Patriots (CoP) has announced July 31 as the new date for the protest to call on George Weah and his government to response to the CoP's demands.
Henry P. Costa, CoP chairman made the disclosure on Friday, July 19, 2019 in Monrovia at a press conference when he said the CoP's decision is in respect to the U.S. Government and its historical ties with Liberia.
Costa's response comes after the United States Ambassador to Liberia, Christine Elder, has advised that the CoP's intent to protest during Liberia's 172nd Independence Celebrations is 'misplaced.'
In a statement released on Thursday, July 18, Amb. Elder said: "The U.S. Embassy read with interest the statement of the CoP issued on July 12 announcing their intent to stage a nationwide protest beginning July 24.
According to the ambassador, while the U.S. Embassy supports the rights of citizens to lawfully apply to assemble or convey their views to elected officials, the intent to do so during the week of July 22 is misplaced. We commend the peaceful conduct of thousands of protesters who, by their actions on June 7, conveyed they are interested in progress and national dialogue over aggression or demands.
In the view, Costa said the U.S. continues to help Liberia in consolidating the peace and Democracy along with its immeasurable and incalculable contributions to the Liberian people.
He said the United States continues to be the source of 20 percent of the country' Gross Domestic Product (GDP) just by personal remittances alone, therefore, CoP cannot ignore the appeal from them.
"We will push the protest date to Wednesday, July 31," announced.
Friday's press conference was also attended by Montserrado County District #10 Representative Yekeh Kolubah, who is one of CoP's Advisers, and fearless critic of the Weah's administration, as well as Abraham Darius Dillon, also a CoP Adviser and candidate for the pending Montserrado County Senatorial by-election. Dillion is contesting on the ticket of the four collaborating political parties, including former ruling Unity Party (UP), Liberty Party (LP), All Liberian Party (ALP) and Alternative National Congress (ANC).
"CoP has analyzed the statement from the American Ambassador to Liberia, Christine Elder, and received the statement in good faith and we have decided to not only respond to it but to also inform the public about the decision on the statement," Costa said.
According to him, the decision to reschedule the protest is also based on the level of support and advocacies of the people of the United States, even if there is disagreement among Liberians.
"Whenever a Liberian man stubs his toe, he shouts 'America', so we have to respect them. This will be a nationwide protest across the country, including Bong, Nimba, Lofa, and Buchanan. We will assemble in numbers peacefully, like the June 7 protest," Costa said.
He added that the CoP will protest until their demands are adhered to by President George M. Weah, particularly via a press conference to inform the people of Liberia of having received the CoP's demands and promised to work on them.
"We will not stop until we see results and we are committed. Again, there is nothing worth to be celebrated on July 26, the country's Independence Day," chairman Costa told newsmen in Monrovia.
"We don't hate our brothers in the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC). Even though we disagree politically, but we hold together and this is what CoP stands for. People may be surprised to see that Representative Yekeh Kolubah and Abraham Darius Dillon will give to supporters or fans of CDC," chairman Costa said.
According to chairman Costa, two supporters of the CDC on Friday July 19 appeared on the Costa's Morning Show (Roots FM) expressing disappointment in the government due to challenges they have encountered, including lack of resources to support their homes.
He said Representative Yekeh Kolubah and Abraham Darius Dillon immediately provided some resources to help the two young men of the CDC.
Dillon said the America remains a strong partner in the development of Liberia.
"So, if our partner expressed a concern, we decided to give it some consideration with courtesy. Interestingly, we also depend on the United States for many things," Dillon said.
He added that the statement from the United States Embassy did not call for cancellation of the protest but shifted the time of the protest, "the statement is not discouraging protest or frowning on the protest, or stopping the CoP from protesting." According to him, the statement cannot run contrary to the constitutional right of Liberians that is contained in Article 17 of the Constitution of Liberia. He said the statement is urging the CoP to be conscious of the time.
"We thought that the timing is right and still believe that the timing is right, because we take advantage of serious national occasions to bring attention to national issues, because we have a President who listens only to himself and powers around the world. We actually wanted to inform the guests that Liberian people are not happy and Weah is not proceeding with the aspirations of the people," Dillon said.