The main opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) plans to parade the streets of Monrovia in observance of a memorial day for its member who died when its partisans, while protesting on 7 November 2011 to stop the runoff election set for the following day, clashed with police near their headquarters.
This time around, the party has invited the police to give them protection but not seeking permission for the match, which they say, is their right as a legal political entity.
Reports gathered revealed that one person was shot dead on that day and several others wounded when the CDC took to the streets ahead of the presidential run-off, which the party eventually boycotted.
The party recently wrote the Ministry of Justice for protection by the police, but refused to seek permission for the street parade, which is oftentimes characterized by violence between the CDC and the police.
“Furthermore, the CDC invites that Liberia National Police through the Ministry of Justice to regulate the movement of all individuals, on that day, to equally ensure the smooth and orderly use of the public space by all persons in keeping with equal protection of all Liberian citizens,” the party said in its letter to the Minister of Justice, without asking for permission.
But the refusal of the party to seek permission for the march has prompted a warning from the Ministry of Justice ahead of the planned march which concerned citizens fear could result into disastrous consequences if not properly managed.
“...This is not to curtail any right. Permit has not been requested and the ministry has not granted one,” deputy justice minister Freddie Taylor told journalists Thursday at the Ministry of Information regular press briefing.
Deputy Minister Taylor said Secretary General of the CDC Nathaniel McGill went to his office but when he confronted him about the permit, he replied that his (SG) members will walk peacefully on the street and not to march.
Taylor said the CDC wrote the ministry requesting the holding of a successful Memorial Day service but felt short of seeking a permit to have a street march. He added that the letter which was dated on 9 October 2012 was received on 19 October 2012 and reply to that was done on 22 October 2012.
He said the CDC in its letter, also requested a meeting with the ministry officials and the police authority, which was scheduled for yesterday (Thursday).
A paragraph from the letter says “the memorial day is expected to see partisans and sympathizers of the CDC gather at our national headquarters in solemnity. We expect that some of the attendees would be traveling on foot, while others would be traveling by vehicle.”
“Therefore, it would be necessary for the government of Liberia to be alert and take the appropriate security measure to ensure that law and order exist by respecting the right of our partisans while exercising their fundamental right of free movement, free association, and free assembly” the letter said.
Even though it is their right to organize a protest match without permission from government, the CDC is not on record for seeking permit from the Ministry of Justice before their parade as is done by other groupings.