Liberia: Opposition Party Threat Causes High Tensions In Monrovia

An atmosphere of uneasy calm pervaded the capital yesterday with nervous residents going about their normal business although uncertain what would happen the next minute.

Parents rushed to schools to pick up their wards, while some schools closed their doors on Monday amidst looming tension, following threats from officials of the Congress for Democratic Change or CDC to stage another street protest to press home their demands for a re-run of the November 8 polls.

The threats came exactly one week after riot police and CDC protesters clashed on the eve of the November 8 presidential run-off which left at least one person dead and several others injured. Other reports put the number of death above two.

Though some CDC officials tried to clarify on Monday that they were not taking to the streets but only holding a rally, others insisted on some radio networks that they were going to take to the streets, thus raising uncertainties among the public.

The National Patriotic Party of war crime indictee, Charles Taylor, which is presently collaborating with the CDC, said the decision by the latter to call for a rally on Monday was unilateral.

Chief Cyril Allan told the Truth FM news that he made his party position known to the CDC standard bearer Tubman. CDC Winston Tubman on Saturday called for the November 8 votes to be annulled, describing it as “a political farce of the highest order,” while calling for a mass rally.

Tubman said his CDC is determined more than ever before to press home its demands, especially after the use of lethal weapons on its supporters on November 7.

“People are rushing in to take their children. We don’t know what is happening,” Marie, a registrar at the Maggie Kingdom Care, a daycare school on 5th Street in Sinkor told this writer Monday. “We only have few children left here and we are waiting,” she added.

Authorities at the Soltiamom Christian School System on Monday urged parents to pick up their children few hours after they were dropped off for school for fear that if the CDC took the streets on Monday there would be chaos.

Besides some schools closing their doors and parents picking up their children for fear of a CDC demonstration, others avoided coming to town, fearing that they might be caught up in another riot.

A wife of a deputy minister told this writer Monday evening that she left her car home for fear that she would have been trapped in a CDC demonstration and in the event her car would have been damaged or so.

CDC Winston Tubman on Saturday called for the November 8 votes to be annulled, describing it as “a political farce of the highest order.” He stated further that CDC would have staged a rally on Monday or Tuesday after consulting with the families of those killed, stressing that his party will not accept the elections result.

“We are holding consultations with the families of the dead people and we want to bury them before the rally. We will see if we will do it tomorrow (Monday) or Tuesday,” CDC deputy campaign manager George Solo told AFP.

“If we have to bury our people, we will march through the streets of Monrovia with their bodies.” Tubman pulled out of Tuesday’s run-off, citing fraud and called for Sirleaf’s victory to be annulled.

Pick-up trucks roamed the streets of the crumbling seaside capital late Saturday with loudspeakers blaring CDC party songs as party workers handed out flyers, calling for a mass rally, following Tubman’s pronouncement.

The leaflets showed pictures of the bodies of three opposition demonstrators allegedly killed in the protest, and called for a “revolutionary funeral” to honor them.


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