MONROVIA, Montserrado – On Tuesday, December 4, the Liberia National Police charged and forwarded to court eight residents of the Caldwell community with multiple offenses.
On Monday, December 3, residents of the community had set up a roadblock to demand electricity from the Liberia Electricity Corporation.
The protestors, who complained that they were tired of paying huge amounts of money to private electricity suppliers while high-voltage wires from the Mount Coffee Hydro Plant passed through their communities to serve other areas, burned tires and other objects in the middle of the road and left commuters stuck in traffic for hours.
The police shot tear gas into the air after the protesters refused to halt their protest and allow the free flow of traffic. Protestors had also thrown stones at the officers.
Bystanders and protestors alike started running in different directions to seek shelter. The police eventually brought the situation under control and rounded up several protesters.
The eight men were charged with rioting, failure to disperse, making terroristic threats, obstructing highways, criminal mischief, and disorderly conduct. They include Philip David, Darlington S. Wiah, Charles Flomo, Prince Martin, Uriah G. Gardnorshin, James Kollie, Osuma Massaley, and Bongay S. George.
According to the police charge sheet, the residents had unlawfully erected checkpoints, set up roadblocks, and burned tires along the major street of Caldwell.
“The protesters’ action impeded the free flow of traffic,” the charge sheet read.
The police said investigation conducted by its Crime Services Department established that several market tables were also burned and “the black smoke for the burning tires clouded the community.”
Police accused the protesters of also attacking and damaging the windshield of a government vehicle assigned to Jackie A. Bernard, assistant minister for feeder roads at the Public Works Ministry.
Featured photo by Zeze Ballah