MONROVIA, August 27-Liberia’s former president, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf paid a surprise visit to the Anti-rape protestors assembling point near her residence in Sinkor to show solidarity.
Several dozens of anti-rape protestors have been on a camping to pass into law death penalty for rapists. The protestors have been on various streets from Monday calling on their government to pass such law. Currently, there is a ten year imprisonment for anyone found guilty of rape. The number of rape cases have increased in recent times, according to the ministry of Gender and women Affairs.
Entering the third day, the protestors said they wanted to deliver their petition to president George Weah rather than anyone. President Weah has not been able to meet the protestors up to press time.
But ex-president Sirleaf whose residence is few yards from the center of Thursday’s peaceful protest, said, the issue of rape was on the increase and it was about time that something was done against perpetrators.
“Today, they happen to have gathered outside my premises, outside where I live. So I could not sit in my house, stay in my yard, see all those women out there demonstrating for something that is good for the country and not go there to show solidarity with them. So, my idea was to just go across sit with them, talk with them, tell them to make sure that they keep the peace that we fought for when I was president in all those years. To tell them we do not want to see any violence,” she said.
She said, rape has been an issue that exited during her administration and it was important to confront it. “Rape has always been a problem, it was before my administration, it was in my administration and it is still with us today. The women, given the kinds of cases that have recently come up – where young babies, three months old, young children, 10 years old violated, sometimes, by old men, sometimes by young men, is something that the women felt they had to act and they had to act in a manner in which one does in peaceful protest,” she said.
She added,“our hearts are there with them.”