Women and youth protest against proposed amendments to the Rape Law

On 10th October, the presidential election in Liberia pitted football legend George Weah with the Coalition for Democratic Change against incumbent Vice President Joseph Boakai of the ruling Unity Party, among other candidates. In general, the elections took place in a peaceful atmosphere. However, a few incidents were noted, namely voters in some polling stations were turned away for not appearing on the official register and logistical problems were also encountered, including electricity outages at some stations.The National Elections Commission announced the results of the first round of votes on 16th October, which showed Weah in lead but without a majority of votes. Therefore, a second round between the two candidates has been set for 7th November.

Peaceful Assembly

Women and youth groups have been organising peaceful protests in Monrovia since the 3rd October when the Senate voted to amend the Rape Law, making the act a bailable offense, stating that "the punishments prescribed for those accused and convicted of rape in the original Rape Law are excessive and unconstitutional". The amendments were submitted to the House of Representatives, and will only be discussed once the new presidential administration is in place. 

On 3rd October, employees of Monrovia City Corporation protested over their working conditions. According to Isaac Walker, who claims to be the spokesperson for the protesters, most of the workers have not received a salary and benefits for months.

Expression

Early in the morning on 18th October unidentified perpetrators set fire to the home of journalist and manager of OK FM, Smith Toby, while he was asleep. The attackers poured gasoline on his front door and set it alight. This is the second time that unidentified persons have attacked his home: in 2011 his home in Monrovia was attacked. The Press Union of Liberia has called on the National Police of Liberia to thoroughly investigate the attack. 

On 29th September, 25 senior journalists and editors participated in a training on how to provide credible, efficient and professional coverage of the elections while maintaining their safety. Local and international trainers trained journalists to report effectively on election-related issues and how to work effectively with police and security forces. The training was followed by an experience-sharing forum between Ghanaian and Liberian police on how to support and ensure safety of media workers during the election period, as well as a Police-Media forum.