Protesters have taken to the streets of Liberian capital Monrovia against increasingly difficult economic times and corruption in the George Weah – led administration.
Reports from the West African country said protesters skipped past heavy security presence to access the seat of power, Capitol Hill. They protest is set to take place at the place. Capitol Hill is adjacent to the Executive Mansion – official residence and offices of the president.
The BBC reporter in Monrovia said dozens of riot police, backed by an armoured tank, have been deployed, but they have not interfered. The government had given an assurance that it would provide security for protesters.
“This is a democratic form of government [in which] everyone has their right to operate in the country but respect civil liberty so that other people can feel comfortable to do business”.
Protester demands include: tasking President Weah to publish a list of his assets before and after he became president.
They are also demanding accountability over $25m the government withdrew from the Federal Reserve Account in 2018, an amount the authorities said was supposed to stabilize the economy.
There is a near social shutdown with roads deserted, most shops closed and civil servants staying away from work. Parents have also withheld their children from going to school despite reopening of the new academic term.
In late 2019, protest organizers postponed a planned protest to today. Henry Costa, Council of Patriots chairman said at the time: “We are proposing or counter suggesting that we want, as the people of this country, January 6th Monday 2020.
“That is the day that the council of patriots wishes to assemble its people. We also want to state very clearly, that we refused the government’s proposal or suggestion that we assemble in a stadium for a protest.”
In a rare state radio interview early this year, President Weah dismissed the importance of a protest before going on to accuse opposition elements of being behind the protests. “We don’t want unrest here, the country has a potential to gain growth.”
“They’re sitting [at] home to plan protests, no, they should be trying to create jobs, they should be trying to be innovative, they should be trying to be entrepreneurs,” the president added.
Routinely accused by human rights groups and opponents of exhibiting autocratic tendencies, the former world footballer of the year rejected the claims: “This is not a tyrannic government.
“This is a democratic form of government [in which] everyone has their right to operate in the country but respect civil liberty so that other people can feel comfortable to do business,” he added.