Monrovia, October 15, 2019 — The National Democratic Coalition of Liberia (NDC) strongly denounces the atrocities committed by President George Weah’s government against unarmed students who were seeking an audience with the President on behalf of their unpaid teachers. This latest attack by armed state police on peaceful students comes in the wake of a peaceful protest in support of their teachers. The teachers are on strike in demand of months of salary arears owed them by the Liberian government. This brutality by the government against peaceful students was unprovoked and absolutely unjustified.
From every indication, President George Weah’s government has demonstrated its insensitivity to education, as during his presidential campaign in 2017, education was in fact condemned by the current president. It is an irony at this time that public school teachers lack the requisite teaching gear and materials for classroom instructions, while corruption, mismanagement and lavish spending by the president and government officials have become the order of the day in Liberia.
While teachers and other professionals are left without pay for several months, many government officials make very fat salaries as indicated by the huge salary of the House Speaker (approximately $29,000.00 USD per month – including perks) and that of the Chief Justice, both of whom have adamantly refused the proposed salary-cut that is popularly demanded by the tax payers of this country. The NDC notes that justice must be done to all men.
This latest attack on unarmed peaceful students is reminiscent of the March 18, 1986 Mass Student Protest led by the Liberian National Students Union (LINSU) in Liberia for improvement of education in public schools and the June 16, 1976 Soweto Student Uprising against the racist South African regime whereby students were also brutalized and shot by state security apparatus in both cases.
The NDC calls on the Liberian government to set its priorities straight in favour of education, health, the economy, and other important sectors of the society and to stop corruption and mismanagement in order to service the urgent needs of the Liberian people. Meanwhile, the NDC admonishes the students to remain peaceful in their protest actions. Finally, the NDC reminds the Liberian government that “Education is a Right, Not a Privilege” and that the government should engage the students for peaceful resolution of their concerns and that of their teachers’ demands for salary payment.
Signed: Dougbeh Chris Nyan, Int’l Vice Chairman
Approved: Alaric Tokpa, National Chairman
Main Photo: female students faint from tear gas, and male students brutalized in Monrovia