By Jackson C. Clay, Jr.
Officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) particularly riot police officers of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) on Friday, July 6, 2018 allegedly brutalized some students of the state-run University of Liberia (UL).
The incident which took place on the university’s main campus on Capitol Hill was as a result of a protest staged by the students which grew into a stone throwing situation on the campus of the university
An eye witness only identified as student Varney, told this paper in an interview that the scene started when students believed to be from the famous Student University Party (SUP) began to chant anti battle cry slogan against the Finance and Development Planning Minister, Samuel Tweh which eventually grew into a fist fight between the two-campus base political parties, SUP and STUDA.
According to information the Finance and Development Planning Minister had gone on the university campus to honor an invitation extended him by one of the campus based political parties, Students Democratic Alliance (STUDA) during its anniversary celebration of which he is a member.
Another eye witness, Student Daniel T. D. Pongay also told the NEW REPUBLIC that STUDA had early engaged the university’s auditorium for the indoor part of their anniversary but later relocated under the political palava hut which is just few steps away from the religious palava hut of the UL due to low turnout of their members to grace the occasion.
Pongay furthered it was at this time, members of SUP were already under the religious palava hut addressing their members on some critical national issues and chanting anti-government battle cries.
He explained that a member of SUP, Lawrence Moore was standing just between the religious and political palava huts which host the two groups and chanting anti-Finance Minister battle cry in a very loud voice when a member of STUDA allegedly physically slapped him (Lawrence Moore) a move which resulted into a fist fight between the two groups.
“STUDA was having their program in the auditorium while SUP was under the religious palava hut addressing their members and the students populace but because they had a very low turnout, they later moved into the political palava hut and a member of SUP, Lawrence Moore was just standing between the two palava hut they, STUDA members slapped him and that was how the riot started,” Pongay narrated.
He explained that the riot which lasted for several hours saw the throwing of stones and other harmful objects amongst the students on the campus, something he said led to the Finance Minister calling for the presence of police officers so as to calm down the situation.
“As a result of the riot, the Finance Minister called the presence of the Police and ordered them to beat on peaceful students and even open teargas on us,” Daniel noted.
Meanwhile, the students are calling on President George Weah to with immediate effect sack Minister Tweh on grounds that he lacks the moral rectitude to be a government official.
Recently, some students of SUP and marketers organized a peaceful protest against the George Weah led administration over the current state of affairs of the country’s economy the hardship facing the Liberian people.