LIBERIA – The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) has termed as gruesome and barbaric the recent attack on members of the Student Unification Party (SUP) of the University of Liberia by supporters of the ruling Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC). ALJA in a press release issued on Thursday, July 28, 2022, condemned in the strongest term the unprovoked attack on the students.
ALJA says the attack on the students was ill-advised and is reminiscent of the country’s dark past when the constitutionally- guaranteed rights of Liberians were flagrantly trampled upon by agents of the ruling regime.
The Association, quoting independent media reports and video footage of the event, showed that the SUP members were confronted and attacked by the CDC-Council of Patriots during a protest called by the students to denounce bad governance and its vices in the country including corruption, poverty, and insecurity under the Weah led administration.
The protest, which was held on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, on the grounds of the US Embassy, showed student Christopher Sivili of SUP being brutalized and tortured while state security officers in close proximity offer no help in protecting him
The Association said no Liberian should be assaulted or dehumanized for peacefully exercising their fundamental right to assemble and petition their government as guaranteed under the constitution.
ALJA, therefore, calls on the government to go beyond the issuance of a mere statement of condemnation and prosecute the perpetrators who are captured in several videos on social media of the barbaric act. Failure to do so would suggest tacit support by the ruling establishment of the brutality meted out against the students
The American-based Liberian Journalists organization expressed concern that this type of violent attack against a group the ruling party perceives as an enemy of the government could scare the opposition into silence, with potentially negative consequences for the conduct of 2023 Presidential and General Elections.
At the same time, ALJA is calling on Liberians of all political persuasions to condemn the recent attack on student Christopher and the other SUP members because it has the potential of reversing the democratic gains Liberia has made in recent years.
ALJA is a conglomeration of current and retired Liberian journalists residing in the Americas. It is a 501c (3) non-profit organization. The Association was founded in 1998 with the objective of fostering companionship among its members and their American counterparts. Additionally, ALJA is committed to advancing press freedom through media capacity building and the fostering of good governance in Liberia through media advocacy.