Liberian business owners prolong protests

Peaceful Assembly

On 31st January 2017, Liberian business owners closed their operations in protest over rising inflation and an increase in tariffs and taxes which is harming their businesses.

The Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia (PATEL) called on its members to gather at the capital building from 31st January to 2nd February 2017 to demonstrate their concern over major issues facing entrepreneurs, namely a new tax law, common external tariffs and police harassment of business owners.

Protests have continued through April 2017, with PATEL urging business owners to close and participate in the demonstrations. The government warned PATEL against prolonging the protest, calling the protests "illegal" and indicating that police force would be used to disperse the protests, should they continue.  

Also, in February 2017 students started a protest over the dismissal of several teachers. Though the school has not revealed the reason for the dismissals, many believe it was due to the teachers' opposition to administrative policies. 

Expression

On 23rd January 2017, Liberia’s Information Minister verbally assaulted a female journalist during a press conference in the capital, Monrovia. Reports indicated that the Minister, Eugene Nagbe, became upset when Estelle Liberty Kemo from Power TV asked about a recent disagreement between him and an opposition member of parliament, Moses Kollie.

In response to the question, Minister Nagbe repeatedly yelled at her to go and ask her boyfriend, Representative Moses Kollie. On 24th January, the director of Power TV and veteran journalist, Aaron Kollie, filed a complaint over the incident with the Liberian Press Union.