Liberia: Another Protest Looms

-as UL instructors poised to boycott lectures

This paper is receiving reports both from the Capitol Hill and Fendall campuses of the University of Liberia that lecturers are poised to go-slow in demand of salaries and other benefits, just barely a day after public school students protested in the streets of Monrovia in demand of teachers.

According to multiple sources from both campuses, lecturers have resolved to abandon classes beginning today, Thursday, 17 October.

The situation is even expected to be exacerbated by university students taking the streets in apparent solidarity with their lecturers over delay in salary payment by the government, something that is becoming widespread in the public sector of late.

Teachers of the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS) a subsidiary of the National Teachers Association of Liberia had laid down chalk since this week in demand of salary arrears spinning over three months.

Protesting public school students waged stone-throwing battle with their counterparts from a Seventh Day Adventist High School in the central Monrovia community of camp Johnson Road Tuesday, amid teargas canisters fired by riot officers of the Liberia National Police that left several students unconscious and admitted in hospital.

However, deputy Information Minister Eugene Fahngon, told an OK FM interview Wednesday that following a meeting with authorities of the MCSS attended by the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Nathaniel McGill, Acting Minister of Finance and Development Planning Samoura Wolokollie and the Minister of Education on the campus of the government-owned William V.S. Tubman High School yesterday, teachers, who have been receiving pay as of Tuesday, have agreed to return to the classroom today.

Several students were rushed to hospital during the latest protest against the George Weah administration here on Tuesday October 15, after riot police fired dozens of tear gas canisters to disperse protesting public schools' students.

The students had taken to the streets demanding that their teachers return to their classrooms, a day after public schools' teachers here laid down their chalks in protest for unpaid salaries and wages running into months. The teachers took the action a day before a schedule test which should have taken days could begin.

The protesting students, mainly from public schools within the city center erected road blocks in front of the Foreign Ministry, the temporary office of the Liberian Presidency thinking that the President's convoy would have stopped to allow him interact with them, rather the convoy drove through the crowd of students.

This prompted the students to resort to throwing stones, while the police responded by firing tear gas canisters to disperse them. But the action by the police did not stop them as they soon gathered in front of the Capitol Building interrupting the free flow of traffic.

However, the police continue to fire more tear gas, as a running battle ensued between both parties on the main boulevard not far from the National Police headquarters and the Capitol Building housing the National Legislature.Angered by the police tear gas, the students ran to a nearby private school own and operated by the Seven Day Advantage Church, where it is believed most of the government officials have their children.

The students justified their engagement with the private school by saying "if they can't be in school, then the children of state officials should also be out of school as well."

At the SDA School, a stone throwing battle intensified, the police then fire several more tear gas canisters which left many students unconscious and taken to hospital.

One of the parents name withheld, called this paper and sent multiple photos of her daughter taking treatment at the government run John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital.This is the third major protest against Weah's Coalition for Democratic Change or CDC government which came to power on the campaign slogan "Change for Hope" in 2017 in less than two weeks.

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