Thursday, September 20, 2007

Liberia on high alert after violent protests

Monrovia - Heavily armed UN military peacekeepers patrolled the streets of the Liberian capital on Tuesday alongside local and UN police after demobilised soldiers staged violent protests overnight.
Witnesses said hundreds of former Liberian army soldiers, police, special security forces and immigration officers took to the streets overnight demanding payout of their benefits.
The angry demonstrators mounted barricades along the streets using rocks and logs or lighting fires in the middle of streets, disrupting the flow of traffic.
They were dispersed by local police backed by UN military and police force.
Police said only three protestors were arrested.
"Any individual who chose to ignore the principles of law by getting engaged in hooliganism will feel the full weight of the law," deputy information minister Gabriel Williams told AFP.

"We cannot continue allowing people disturbing peace this way," he added.
Demonstrations over pension payouts have been frequent in Liberia since the government of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf took over the cash-strapped country last year in January.

IOL: Liberia on high alert after violent protests