Liberians Debate - the July 26, 2022, Violent Attack Against Peaceful Student Protesters

Gashly attack by pro-government group, CDC-Council of Patriots against protesting students of the University of Liberia on July 26, 2022, Independence Day has left many Liberians condemning the Weah administration for condoning such bloody violence in the country. Several students of the campus-based Vanguard Student Unification Party (SUP) are nursing wounds from the brutal attack before the Embassy of the United States near Monrovia where the protesting had gathered to present a statement to the U.S. Government on the worsening economic, security and governance issues in Liberia, characterized by systemic corruption and abuses.

Several residents of Monrovia express their views on the violence and apparent lack of action from the government, as compiled below.

"The result from the protest on July 26 celebrations I condemn it in the strongest term. It is not a good sign that was sent out by this regime and the country. Looking at these guys, who call themselves CDC-Council of Patriots, it doesn't give them right to beat on any student and stripped the person naked, as if we are fighting war in our country. This is all because the students have decided to stage a peaceful protest, calling on the Government of Liberia to address the economic hardship that has taken over the country; it doesn't give anyone the right to beat on anybody and stripped that person naked. Remember that it reminds someone of us about the country's dark day of April 12, 1990, and the rice riot. It's not a good sign or image for our country. People need to desist from this debauched behavior."

"In my view as a citizen, the Student Unification Party students were wrong because, it was Liberia's Independence Day, which made Liberia 175 years of existence. So, it makes no sense to go protest or to go demonstrate on Independence Day. It was against me and it was against so many people. For example, it was just looking like this, I am celebrating my birthday then somebody wants to attack me. It is bad; SUP needs to desist from this."

"Actually, the issue on the July 26 protest is a matter that we observe the angle of the government and take it into consideration that the government complied with group of militias. And on that note, the purpose of the students especially, at the American Embassy, the students went there to make sure that they engage constructively and in order to test the democracy of our State, for which George Manneh Weah, our President had stated that he was going to be more proactive, as compared to Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's days. But what we saw; reminds us of the dark days in our history. If President Weah will push us toward the dark days in our history, then it means that there are issues that we need to address. Let's take, for example, one of the concerns from the Student Unification Party on that particular day was to take away the happening that is about to occur which has to do with our election. And take into consideration that no country will go to an election without identifying the total number of people. So, up to present in Liberia, we don't even know our population and we have people, who have taken away the census money that we are asking our government in order to engage these people because we don't want violence in the elections. We don't want President Weah to rig the election, for this reason, we continue to enlighten the minds of the people that indeed, the census must be conducted before the electoral process comes into being, because the government feels it is already in the position to rig this particular process. So, they never wanted the students to enlighten the minds of the people on the issue of elections. They decided to bring in the Liberia National Police and few other guys, who we refer to as rebels to move on the students. So, on that day, it was very saddening for our democracy."

"Firstly, when I overheard the protest, I felt bad because it was Independence Day and we have to celebrate that day. I didn't expect SUP, looking at SUP to be the leading political party at the highest institution of the Republic of Liberia to carry on such action. They failed to realize that other citizens were happy on that day, and went to celebrate alongside the government. While other people carried on their normal business activities then SUP planned to disrupt that day. As for me, it never went down well with me, and if they continue to carry on that act, I think it will be a bad practice for us in our democracy. They need to change and desist from that attitude."

"I think the CDC-CoP is in error. The Constitution of Liberia gives every citizen right to carry on a peaceful assembly if he\she thinks that things are not going on good in the country. SUP is a student political party at the State-run University of Liberia; they have the right to stage a peaceful protest against the government if things are not going well with the people in the country. So, it is not only University issues they have to speak on. Remember, SUP is there for the masses; let the CDC-Council of Patriots be aware of it. We are not saying that they should not do their royalty work for the government and CDC. But the right thing needs to be done. We are not fighting war in this country for a man to look at his friend man and beat and stripped him naked, all because he wants to satisfy his party. We should stop this as young people; government goes, government comes. We don't know where we will find ourselves in the future."

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