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

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.