Opposition postpones anti-government rally in Liberia

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - MONROVIA, Dec 30 — Liberian opposition leaders announced a week-long postponement of an anti-government rally planned today after mounting confrontation with the government.

The rally was meant to protest at the West African country’s deepening economic crisis, but its organisers said there was lack of protection for protestors.

The government had accused the opposition of calling for President George Weah’s “unconstitutional eviction” and on Saturday warned all protests before the end of January would be blocked. 

On Monday, the Council of Patriots (COP) opposition said it had called the rally off after the government said it was unable to provide security and after international observers recommended postponement. 

COP Chairman Henry Costa, who helped footballer-turned-president Weah come to power, insisted the protest would take place nonetheless.

A new date has been set for January 6, after mediation from international observers. 

The streets of the capital Monrovia were extremely quiet early Monday, an AFP journalist saw. 

Police officers erected checkpoints across the city and were systematically checking vehicles and passengers.

Opposition MP Yekeh Kolubah, who is also a COP member, told AFP that police officers had stopped him from transporting protesters to a rallying point in the city.   

Costa told reporters later on Monday morning that representatives from the UN, EU, US and the West Africa bloc ECOWAS had complained to the government about blocking the protest.

Still traumatised by back-to-back civil wars and the 2014-2016 Ebola crisis, Liberia is struggling to revive its failing economy. 

Inflation is rampant, according to the World Bank, and civil servants regularly go unpaid. — AFP

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