Who Forced Police to Summersault? -Citizens Believe External Pressure Triggered the Change

When the Liberia National Police on Tuesday, August 2, 2022 confirmed the arrest of seven individuals in connection with the street violence of July 26, 2022 in which operatives of the CDC-COP brutalized, dehumanized and nearly killed protesting students of the University of Liberia, Liberians were shocked as to how the police suddenly made a complete U-turn from its earlier statement that it could not make arrest because it had not received a formal complaint against the perpetrators.

The ghastly and graphic incident which was captured on a myriad of social media platforms left Liberians dumbfounded as they geared to celebrate their country’s 175 Independence Anniversary. Footages of CDP-COP militants chasing their fellow students, beating them with stones and stripping them stark naked in front of the United States Embassy on Benson Street streamed across the globe as foreign guests prepared to grace Liberia’s historic celebration of nativity.

That it took the Liberian authorities seven good days to react to the melee has left the citizenry more shocked than by the incident itself which left a bad reminder of the past civil wars when rebels summarily executed civilians in a jungle justice fashion.

Justifying the government’s foot-dragging on the July 26 violence to issue an official statement or make any arrest until seven days after the incident, the Minister of Information said: “President Weah’s address to the nation followed a National Security Council meeting that he called in order to get a grasp of the situation. That meeting took place on Monday.”

But reacting to what the public has now considered a lame-duck excuse from the government which knew fully well the perpetrators but decided to downplay the incident until pressure from civil society, political actors, the international community and the public started mounting, some critics see President Weah’s call for the police to arrest the July 26 violence perpetrators as extremely belated.

“The speech was far belated. Didn’t he see the pictures after the 26th? Or is he not briefed daily by the very national security Council on the state of affairs?” wondered University of Liberia professor Thomas Kaydor.

“The police are nothing but a partisan force for the CDC. Look at how those who claimed to have been arrested were posing for the camera on Tuesday. Nothing will come out of that arrest,” says Dennis Summerville of Sinkor.

“As for me, I know 2023 will be rocky for anyone who goes against the ruling party. The opposition community should stand ready for the struggle that is coming,” says Susan Gbanjah from Gbarpolu.

Opposition Protection Unit

In the wake of the pre-election militarism that is again rearing its ugly head in the country, mainly from the ruling establishment, Montserrado County District #10 Representative Yekeh Kolubah has informed the public about the formation of an Opposition Protection Unit headed by himself.

According to Representative Kolubah, the Unit is created to protect opposition political parties, individuals, as well as citizens who are not capable of protecting their lives against pro-government units and supporters.

Nelson Freeman is a concerned Liberian who strongly supports Representative Korlubah’s radical but self-preservatory stance.

“President Weah asked the citizens to get CCTV to protect themselves, so since the citizens can’t afford the CCTV, Yekeh Kolubah is right to form a citizen’s vigilante group. They’re not armed so I don’t see any issues with that,” Freeman said.

So since the citizens can’t afford the CCTV, Yekeh Kolubah is right to form a citizen’s vigilante group. They’re not armed so I don’t see any issues with that,” Freeman said.

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