Protests on unpaid wages and absent teachers turn violent

Peaceful Assembly 

Over the past two months, a number of violent protests illustrated that more could be done to facilitate peaceful protest in Liberia. Issues including wages, student rights and local services drove many of these protests. 

On 12th September, workers at the Cocopa Rubber Plantation protested against the non-payment of four months' salary arrears by blocking the Ganta – Saclepea highway. The protest started after the intervention of Nimba County officials, who appealed to the workers to give the government more time to address their demands. During the protest, the company’s garage and clinic were looted as well as the home of its Operations Manager.

On 26 September, public school students staged a protest in Kakata by blocking the highway from the Roberts International Airport (RIA) to and from Monrovia. Students were calling on the Liberian Government and the National Teachers Association to demand that their teachers return to classrooms. The protest quickly turned violent as students looted public buildings and vandalised several government facilities. In response, Liberian President Sirleaf said

'I have ordered the Minister of Education to dismiss those teachers linked to the protest and [an] investigation will be conducted on schools whose students took part in the protest, this ugly situation will not be allowed.'

On 8th October, dozens of youth groups in Grand Cape Mount County in Western Liberia clashed with local officials of the Ministry of Health over the removal of a generator that was used at the decommissioned Ebola site in Sanjay. The protest was organised to oppose the removal of a generator that has been providing electricity for the residents of the area.