With less amount of civility, the protestors’ action interrupted the smooth flow of both vehicular and human traffic and business activities along Ashmun Street for several hours which resulted into a brawl between them and officers of the Liberia National Police.
The situation drew into a pandemonium between Police and Students, resulting into throwing stones and other objects that led to three Police Support Unit officers sustaining injuries along with several students; and the arrest of Eugene William, Ryes Willie and David Germu, all considered ring leaders of the Ashmun Street melee.
According to police reports, eighteen persons have been arrested and are undergoing investigation.
Reports from the scene suggest the situation intensified when the Police arrived and tried calming down the demonstrators by peacefully negotiating with them, but our reporter said the students were adamant and started throwing stones and sticks at the Police.
Against this backdrop, the President of the United Methodist University, Dr. Johnson Gwaikolo, intimated the University administration has launched an immediate investigation into the student actions and an appropriate measure will be taken against those involved.
Although it is an incontestable fact that the rights of every citizen must be respected, such rights, however, must be respected within confines of the law, and no one should ever attempt to disrupt the peace of the country.
As we draw closer to the conduct of the crucial 2017 presidential and legislative elections, actions that threaten to undermine the peace and security of our country must not be tolerated no matter whom is involved.
There are writings on the walls that point to a somehow likely political or economic interference could have foreshadowed the students’ action and led to the flogging of some who might have played no part in the fracas.
In any case, we believe that protest actions or mass demonstration must be organized in conformity with the law and acceptable best practice, free of violence to safeguard our already fragile peace.
We join calls for speedy investigation into the quarrel and bring to book anyone found to be guilty of instigating or perpetrating those violent and uncivil actions that paralyzed normal activities.