President Barack Obama, US President
His Excellency Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General, UN
The European Union; The African Union
ECOWAS Leadership; UNMIL; International Observers
Madam Margaret Lõj, UNSR to Liberia
The Diplomatic Corps based in Liberia
We, the Diaspora arm and friends of the Congress of Democratic Change (CDC-USA), Liberia’s primary opposition party, register our concerns with you our international and national partners in Democracy, about events that occurred within the borders of Liberia on Monday, November 7th, 2011. We condemn in no uncertain terms all acts of violence that led to the loss of innocent lives of citizens of Liberia at the hands of commanders and officers of the government of Liberia’s National Police. CDC-USA also expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the victims.
The Headquarters of the Congress for Democratic Change, its Standard Bearer Ambassador Winston A. Tubman, Vice Standard Bearer Ambassador George M. Weah, Sr., and partisans, whilst exercising their rights under Article 15 and 17 of the Liberian Constitution., came under unwarranted physical assault that resulted into fatalities at the hand of the Emergency Riot Unit (ERU) of the Liberia National Police. International journalists from Reuters, The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), and the Voice of America (VOA) News and Agence France-Presse (AFP), reported several persons dead and more wounded.
This action by the Police took place while Liberians had gathered at the CDC headquarter to stage a peaceful rally in support of the party’s position to not participate in the runoffs of the Liberian presidential election that had been slated for Tuesday, November 8th, 2011. The gathering of Liberians at CDC’s headquarter was called by the party’s political leader to continue to admonish all CDC partisans and sympathizers to remain peaceful even as they exercised their constitutional right of freedom of assembly.
Over the past months, the CDC has asked its partisans to assemble and has had tons of rallies with thousands of CDC partisans attending, with no incidents occurring – a sure sign of the party’s ability to manage its members during assemblies. Hence, this kind of assembling of partisans was not unusual as Liberians who believe in the CDC cause normally gather at the party’s headquarter for various activities on a daily basis. An assembly of peaceful people gave no reason to the Liberian National Police to open fire on citizens and gun them down in such a cold blooded manner.
It has also been confirmed that there were further actions by the Police later on the night of November 7th, 2011. Inspector General Marc Amblard ambiguously cited “a writ from the court” which according to him, ordered the police to remove from the airwaves the following stations: Love FM and Love TV, Power FM and Power TV, and King’s FM. The media houses shut down by the government are legitimate businesses registered under the laws of Liberia.
Their broadcast of videos, and report of the government assault on the CDC and at no time did they violate any laws of Liberia to be ordered closed down at gun point. A secret travel ban instituted against the leadership and members of the CDC is already in effect. One of CDC’s representatives-elect was stopped at the Roberts International Airport from traveling, passport seized by immigration officers and requested to report to the Ministry of Justice the next day.
On Tuesday November 8th, 2011, while CDC partisans peacefully and quietly stayed away from the runoff polling centers as is their constitutional right, the Liberian National Police using its power and reach, covered by the Government of Liberia, once more sought out and arrested several members of the CDC for unapparent reasons befitting an arrest, again ambiguously citing varied “crimes” against their persons.
It is in this light that we, the Diaspora arm and Friends of the Congress of Democratic Change residing in the U.S.A, write to register our profound condemnation of these atrocious acts by the Liberia National Police, an organization whose services should be geared toward saving lives and protecting Liberia’s citizenry – but instead chose to derogate the rights of Liberians.
We thank the UNMIL officers who put their own lives at risk to avoid a sure massacre. We are asking that you help remind the Liberian Government of the Human Rights of its citizens and their unequivocal rights to assemble under the Liberian Constitution – a law applicable to the partisans and leaders of the CDC, as it is to every Liberian citizen. We call for intervention by you, Liberia’s international and regional partners to ensure a thorough investigation of these unfortunate series of events, so that the perpetrators of those fatal and reckless acts are brought to justice and, the Liberian Government urgently and specifically implement the following:
1. Release all those detained due to the incident of Monday, November 7th, 2011
2. Remove secret travel bans on CDC members and allow for free movement of all citizens– as it is their constitutional right.
3. Reopen all media (radio, TV and newspaper) institutions that have been shut down to allow for diverse and unbiased reporting.
4. Respect the citizens’ constitutional right to freely assemble
5. Launch an investigation to determine the perpetrators of the fatal attack on members of the CDC during the peaceful demonstration and prosecute those responsible.
On behalf of the National Executive Committee of CDC-USA:
Signed: W.E. Saydee-Tarr
National Secretary General
Approved: Christopher Wisner