The grounds of the Capitol, seat of the Liberian Legislature came under serious tension Thursday, January 16, after rock-throwing protesters, predominantly women and supporters of Montserrado County Electoral District #17 Representative Hanson Kaizulo, clashed.
The scene erupted into violence with several persons sustaining injuries, leading the leadership at the Capitol to call riot police to restore calm at the political theater.
It all started when group of women under the banner, Women of Liberia stormed the Capitol, demanding justice for a woman, allegedly raped by Rep. Kaizolu sometimes ago.
But the alleged rape victim denies every being sexually assaulted by the lawmaker, who happens to be her guardian.The women paraded with placards, chanting against the lawmaker and subsequently barricaded the front packing lot of the House of Representatives.
However, while protesters were being talked to by some leaders of the Capitol, a pro-Representative Kaizulo group arrived in an apparent counter protest, raining insults and throwing missiles, something that sent both staff and protesters to their heeds for safety. It took officers of the Liberia National Police to calm the situation.
The predominantly female protesters had gone at the Capitol to present a formal complaint to the leadership of the House of Representatives against Rep. Kaizolu for allegedly raping his niece.
The women insisted that their complaint be addressed before they leave the grounds of the Capitol, demanding the intervention of the House's leadership headed by Speaker Bhofal Chambers.Some of placards read, "Real men don't rape"; "We want Kaizolu go for investigation", among others.
Minutes after the women had gathered in preparation to present their petition, Representative Kaizolu arrived with a group of young men believed to be militants of the University of Liberia's campus-based Student Unification Party (SUP), and began beating and throwing stones at the protesting women.
Madam Marthalyn Davis, reading the petition to the Chairperson on Claims and Petition of the House of Representative, Rep. Rustonlyn S. Dennis, explains the women of Liberia are being victimized and abused daily allegedly by some government officials and influential men in society.
She narrates that some times last year, they received a complaint by a lady only identified as Ms. Massa that Rep. Hanson Kaizolu who happens to be her uncle, allegedly raped her.
In response, Rep. Dennis promised to take the petition before full plenary after which plenary will get back to them.
The vice chair for political parties, Nuwor Scott intimates that in the past four weeks she and the leadership have received series of calls from the women of Montserrado County Electoral District #17, about an alleged rape case linking Rep. Kaizolu.
She notes that women will not rest until the matter is properly investigated and concluded.
Madam Scott discloses that a team of investigators were sent to the district to thoroughly investigate and report to the group in the soonest possible time. By Bridgett Milton-Editing by Jonathan Browne