CSOs Want Protesters Maintain Peace

-Want International Partners Monitor The Process

By Reuben Sei Waylaun

Ahead of the much-publicized June 7, 2019 protest, three Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are calling on those protesters to maintain the current peace of the country.

In a joint press conference organized by the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), Naymote Partners for Democratic Development, and the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) they said they are deeply concerned over the peacefulness of the impending June 7, 2019 protest.

Reading the press statement, the Executive Director of CENTAL, Anderson Miamen said the three CSOs called on all stakeholders involved including the Council of Patriots and the Government of Liberia to sustain the peace and ensure respect for the rule of law, human rights and free movement of citizens during the protest to avoid any provocation that could lead to violence and destruction of lives and properties.

They reminded those involved that collectively with support of the development partners, Liberians suffered for the peace Liberians currently enjoy and as such; it must be jealously guided and protected, individually and collectively, through actions and deeds.

“The recent June 3, 2019 violent situation on Broad street involving supporters of Representative Yekeh Kolubah and disadvantaged youths largely believed to be against the planned June 7, protest; tension between rivalry political groups at the University of Liberia and the increased negative social media campaign are counterproductive and undermine the rule of law and peace and stability of the nation. Although stable and peaceful, there is a strong possibility of reverting to conflict, if Liberians are not careful about their decisions and utterances, no matter which side of the political spectrum they find themselves,” the CSOs said.

The groups added “While we unconditionally support exercise of the rights of citizens, especially organizers, supporters and sympathizers of the June 7, 2019 protest, as guaranteed by Article 17 of the 1986 Liberian Constitution, we want to encourage all would-be protesters to do so within the confines of the law. We strongly encourage organizing body of the protest, Council of patriots to exert full leadership and control over their members protesting in solidarity with or under their auspices.”

In a statement signed by IREDD Executive Director, Harold Marvin Aidoo, CENTAL Executive Director, Anderson Miamen, and Naymote Partners for Democratic Development, Eddie D. Jarwolo, they strongly encouraged the Liberian Government to continue to respect the constitutional rights of would-be protesters seeking to civilly and peacefully express their grievances about ongoing developments in the country.

“The onus is on government to lead by example in maintaining and sustaining the peace, in part through exercising extreme caution and civility in dealing with the protesters,” the groups added.

The three CSOs are meanwhile recommending that the Liberian National Police and other security forces to remain professional, respect human rights and the rule of law and refrain from the use of excessive force against unarmed protesters.

They also called on the media, government officials and protest organizers to be conflict sensitive and ensure that peace, and democracy are sustained and guaranteed in Liberia.

“We call on the international community, especially ECOWAS, AU, UN, EU and the American Embassy to closely monitor the situation in Liberia and hold anyone who will instigate violence accountable for their actions. We wish to indicate our opposition to any form of undemocratic regime change, using protest or other unorthodox means of permeating through social and other media platforms. Continue to dialogue and adhere to democratic principle and norms of the society,” the statement reads.

“We call on President Weah and the government of Liberia to be more responsive to the plights of Liberians, ensuring that the current economic hardship, corruption and other vices are timely addressed,” the statement added.

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