Liberia: 'No New Date for Protest,' COP Says

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(File photo).

The Council of Patriots (CoP), a pressure group that has successfully hosted mass protests against what it considers as "bad governance" on the part of the George Weah Administration, has declared publicly that it does not have any plan yet to organize another protest after the January 6 protest that ended in chaos.

It can be recalled that influential Liberian talk show host, Henry P. Costa, has on two occasions used his radio and social media platforms to organize two mass protests drawing aggrieved Liberians from all walks of life to express their disdain of the way President George Weah and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) are leading the country.

The first was organized on June 7, 2019, and was widely covered by international media including Al-Jaazera, the BBC, VOA and others.

"We have no new date for protest, and when we plan to have any another time in the future, we will arrange properly for security so that we will be sure of our protection, but as for now, we have no definite date for protest," Costa said at a press conference yesterday.

He, however, said they remain consistent and resolved in their demand for President George Weah to address all their concerns being raised over the time. He called on the President to make us of the indefinite time of no further protest by the COP to address the concerns put before him.

At that press conference on January 8, 2020, COP chairman Costa emphasized that the wide coverage of the protest by some of the world's leading media institutions alone is an achievement, because the COP has been able to expose bad governance in the George Weah Administration to the whole world by organizing peaceful protests.

Additionally, Mr. Costa said though exposing bad governance carried out in the CDC-led government does not put food on anyone's table, it is helpful to everyone because it creates the room for people to make use of their constitutional rights to free assembly and speech.

"The presence of top world media institutions in Liberia during our protests is an achievement. We have exposed the ills and bad governance in this country to the entire world, and it's an accomplishment," Costa stressed.

The COP, through its chairman, also demanded that the President relieves the Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue of his post for using excessive force on unarmed protesters who had gone to the Capitol Hill to express their constitutional rights.

According to Costa, there was a time in the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Administration that the police used excessive force on CDC protesters and the former President relieved the Inspector General Marc Amblard of his post.

He claimed that when the police began using tear gas and water cannon on the peaceful protesters, people lost their phones, goods and other belongings, and that was the fault of the police under the leadership of Patrick Sudue.

"The CoP, in consonance with best practice, is demanding that the President relieve the Police Inspector General, Patrick Sudue of his post. Somebody should pay the consequences of what happened to peaceful protesters on Monday, and the person to bear this is the LNP Inspector General," said Costa.

On the issue of cooking on Capitol Hill, which the Police dwelt on to justify their action taken against the protesters, Costa had this to say: "The guys were afraid because they did not expect the crowd to swell up as it was during the evening hours. When it was evening the crowd was enlarging, and the police was afraid because we planned to sleep on the ground."

The Independent National Commission on Human Rights has also come out with its position on the excessive use of force on peaceful protesters, calling on the Weah Administration to investigate the matter to establish the cause.

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