Monrovia- What instigated fears in many Liberians in and out of Liberia turned out to be a fiasco when the announced independence day demonstration by the vanguard Student Unification party of the University of Liberia fell short of its participants turnout.
After a late night defiance of a warning against the protest issued by the Ministry of Justice which was done on Facebook Live by both the Chairman and Secretary General of the party, SUP stuck to their word and gathered at the front of the United States Embassy in Monrovia. However, what people anticipated to be a surge in ordinary citizens from all walks of life filling the streets of Monrovia, was however a handful SUP partisans who were mostly officials and few militants of the party. The protest started off with the reading of on an official statement by the Secretary General of the party, who said that when students gathered earlier at the Ducor Palace hotel area,, they were blocked by the Liberia National Police. There are unconfirmed reports of tear gas being fired to disperse that gathering, however, no injury was reported.
In the meantime, while the SUP protest was ongoing, another group was gathered on the main campus of the University of Liberia. The CDC youth league led by its Chairman Jefferson Koijee is said to have been invited by the Fendall Students Association (FENSA) for a honoring and certification program of some young government officials. Whether this program was planned in advance and coincided with SUP’s protest or it was a retaliation to SUP’s protest is still unknown. On the average, and considering past SUP protests, today’s episode was seen as a failure by many Liberians. Many Liberians took to social media through Facebook and said that the whole march was a fiasco and Liberians were not in support of such. On the other hand, SUP supporters, mostly from the opposition block said the number of persons during a protest does not matter as long as the protest was held.
Meanwhile, Liberians who spoke to the Liberian Billboard expressed happiness at the the way the 26 celebrations went. They said, while the country is experiencing some difficult times right now, it is better to have peace than have chaos. They praised the efforts of the Liberia National Police and various security apparatus in the country for keeping all sides in check. The official program marking the celebration of the 171st independence of Liberia was held at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia, followed by an official ball at the Samuel Kayon Doe Sports Complex. Simultaneous celebrations were held around Monrovia and in Capital Cities of counties.