News / Africa

Liberian Opposition Blames Police for Deadly Clashes, Vows to Boycott Election

Congress for Democratic Change spokesman George Solo says police used live ammunition against unarmed CDC supporters

A Liberian child stands in front of an election poster for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the Liberian capital Monrovia, September 8, 2011.
A Liberian child stands in front of an election poster for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the Liberian capital Monrovia, September 8, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to Butty interview with CDC spokesman George Solo

James Butty

An official of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) has accused members of the Liberian National Police of killing and wounding CDC supporters.

George Solo, CDC spokesman and deputy campaign manager, said there were at least two confirmed fatalities Monday.

All attempts to reach Liberian police for their comment failed.

Solo said the police ARU unit used live ammunition against CDC supporters who had gathered in front of their party’s headquarters to attend what the party called a vigil for the preservation of democracy in Liberia.

“As we turned the car around, moving into the party headquarters, the ARU guys were behind us firing, and I’m talking about live rounds, and they followed us into the party headquarters and continued to shoot at the crowd with live ammunition,” he said.

Solo said there were at least two confirmed fatalities.

“We have two bodies, but we also have four, five, six claims of death. We’ve got stories of people being shot on the beach and bodies taken and transported to who knows where,” Solo said.

The spokesperson for the U.N. mission, Yasmina Bouziane, also confirmed two fatalities from Monday’s confrontation.

“Most unfortunately, there are reports from people on the ground, and now confirmation of two casualties, with a few injured, including some U.N. personnel who were on the ground, slightly injured,” she said.

Bouziane said UNMIL was investigating Monday’s deadly clashes.

“The mission truly deplores the loss of life and, of course, has called upon all parties, supporters and all Liberians to really exercise maximum restraint and to ensure that peace is maintained in Liberia,” she said.

Some accounts said police took action when CDC supporters began throwing stones at the police.

But, Solo said the CDC supporters threw stones at the police only in retaliation for what he called unnecessary police violence.

“When innocent people are being shot at and they are running toward the fence, they came back, and there are a few pockets of people that threw stones, but why do [you] even have live bullets in your guns?  Why are you shooting unarmed people?  And, if a few come come back to throw rocks at you, to create space, how do you compare rocks with bullets?” Solo said.

The Press Union of Liberia reported in an email late Monday that Liberian police had shut down two pro-opposition radio stations in the capital, Monrovia.

The email from Press Union president Peter Quaqua, quoting employees of LOVE-FM, said police walked into the radio station, cut short a newscast and asked all employees in the building to get out before locking the main entrance.

The Press Union said a live program was similarly disrupted at KINGS-FM, and the station forced to end its broadcasts and the doors sealed after the private security was made to surrender their keys.

KINGS is owned by CDC founder and vice presidential candidate George Weah.  Power-TV had earlier videotaped the bloody clashes between CDC supporters and the police.

Solo said the police went to the stations to get hold of the videotape of the violence.

“As I speak to you now, radio stations that are balanced in their reporting like KINGS-FM, like LOVE-FM, and Power-TV are being closed.  The security apparatus are there right now.  We are receiving calls [from] journalists being threatened to give up tapes of the incidents, obviously because they do not want evidence because the entire incident was recorded,” Solo said.

He said Monday’s developments further deepened the CDC decision not to participate in Tuesday’s run-off election.

“When innocent lives can be taken away like they are animals, when life, which is innocent, [is] disregarded in terms of human value, why should we re-engage in this process?  Do we want to send a message to our people that the process is more relevant than their lives?  No, we will not engage in this runoff,” Solo said.

You May Like

US, Brazil's Climate-Change Plan: More Renewables, Less Deforestation

Officials say joint initiative on climate change will allow Brazil, United States to strengthen and accelerate cooperation on issues ranging from land use to clean energy More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

After Nearly a Century, Voodoo Opera Rises Again

Opera centers on character named Lolo, a Louisiana plantation worker and Voodoo priestess More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs