Liberia: Motorcyclists Warn of Mass Protest Amid No-Go Zone Enforcement

Monrovia — Aggrieved commercial motorcyclists in Monrovia and other parts adjacent are threatening to consistently stage violent protests beginning today April 19, over attempt by the Unity Party (UP) led-government of President Joseph Nyuma Boakai to restrict their movement in the capital.

The government, through the Liberia National Police (LNP is expected to declare Monrovia and other parts of the country a "no go zone" for commercial motorcycles riding.

But the aggrieved motorcyclists stormed the Capitol Building in Monrovia on Thursday, April 18 requesting their lawmakers to intervene and discourage the government from initiating its planned action.

The Capitol Building is the official seat of the National Legislature.

They had gone at the Capitol Building to specifically meet with Representatives Frank Saah Foko and Yekeh Kolubah of districts # 9 and 10 respectively.

They noted that the "no go zone" regulation the government, through the LNP is contemplating on implementing, would affect them and their respective family members.

They stated that the attempt by the government is intended to infringe on their right to freedom of movement as guaranteed in the 1986 Liberian constitution.

The constitution is the organic law of the land.

They maintained that commercial motorcycle riding continues to serve as their only source of income to provide food and other basic necessities for them and their respective families, but attempt by the government to restrict their movement would cripple their revenue generation thereby imposing additional hardship on them.

The aggrieved commercial motorcyclists claimed that though multiple pleas have been made to government during separate engagements held with authorities of the LNP, the government remains uncompromised to execute the no go zone regulation for motorcyclists.

"The government is attempting to violate our right. But we will do it our own way to protect ourselves. We are not asking them again. Our lawmakers promised us they are going to do the honorable thing to make sure that we are protected. The government is not providing us jobs; we are creating our own jobs. If the government infringes on our right, we will react," Amos Johnson stated.

He alleged that a group of motorcyclists that previously endorsed and supported President Boakai during the just ended 2023 general and presidential, unilaterally signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Police Inspector General Gregory Coleman for the enforcement of the no gone zone regulation for motorcyclists without the consent of many others.

He termed as "wrong" the move made by the pro-Boakai motorcyclists.

Johnson threatened that motorcyclists would resist any use of force against them by the police.

He maintained that Liberia will also return to the past if they are not given the opportunity to exercise their constitutional rights.

Violent protests, including setting of road blocks and sit in actions, have been a normal routine for motorcyclists in Liberia.

They see these actions as the only mean to vent out their anger against issues affecting them.

For decades now, they have not made use of the court system to challenge actions from the government attempting to infringe on their rights

Their various unions have not been able to hold a dialogue with the relevant authorities of the Liberian government in seeking their interest or welfare.

However, the no go zone regulation expected to be imposed by the police comes amid the gruesome murder of a young woman at the Barnesville junction on the Japanese Drive, outside Monrovia.

The victim, identified as one Amanda Nebo, was attacked by men believed to be armed robbers who were reportedly riding commercial motorcycles during the late night hours.

She was gruesomely murdered by her attackers and her bags and other valuable were taken away.

Like Amanda, scores of other Liberians have been victimized during the day and night hours by robbers using commercial motorcycles to hijack or rob peaceful citizens.

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