Going back to civil war for the third time, Liberia people will be the big loosers. It is enough to destability of the Stale. People need security and stability. Candidates should put as priority Liberia interests, not theirs struggling for the seat.
Associated France Press (AFP) 12/12/2005
50 arrested as Weah backers demonstrate after presidential claim
Fifty people were arrested as supporters of George Weah fought with Liberian and UN police after the ex-football star claimed to be the real winner of last month's presidential poll, officials said.
The country's transitional government meanwhile met in emergency session to discuss the latest upsurge in violence following the election results which officially gave victory to Weah's rival Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
"Up to now we have arrested a total number of 50 persons," national police chief Joseph Kerkula told AFP, adding that they were being questioned.
The violence was condemned by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's representative, Alan Doss, who pinned the blame firmly on the leadership of Weah's Congress for Democratic Change (CDC).
Some 300 people gathered at CFC headquarters in Monrovia and then went on the rampage after Weah declared himself "the winner of the elections" on his private King FM radio on Sunday.
Police used tear gas to disperse them when they damaged a dozen cars and premises in the city centre and suburbs. About 20 people were seriously injured in clashes, including five police officers, an AFP correspondent reported.
Weah has complained to the National Elections Commission of electoral fraud favouring veteran politician and former World Bank economist Sirleaf, who was declared the official winner after the run-off round of voting on November 8.
She will not be sworn in as head of state until January and the elections commission last week opened an investigation into Weah's allegations. The polls put an end to two successive civil wars that ravaged the west African country and were followed by a transition monitored by the United Nations.
"I am the elected president of Liberia, not Ellen Sirleaf," Weah said within hours of his return from South Africa, where his party said he had gone "to complain to (South African President) Thabo Mbeki" and also met former head of state "Nelson Mandela, who gave him wise advice as usual."
"There will be no inauguration if the complaint of the CDC is not properly addressed," Weah said on the air. "They stole my victory and I am here to say loud and clear that I am the winner of the elections."
A source in the ministry of information said the government was meeting Monday at Kakata, near Monrovia, in a bid to prevent Liberia plunging back into chaos.
"We have received concrete information that some individuals are planning to destabilize this country," Information Minister William Allen said Monday in a radio broadcast.
Without giving names or details, he addded: "Among those people are two government officials whom we are keeping eyes on."
CDC secretary general Euge Nagbe accused the police of aggression, adding that 60 people were seriously injured and being treated in hospital.
A statement by the UN peacekeeping force in Liberia, known as UNMIL, said it had sent around 100 of its own police "and a limited number of military personnel" to help restore order when the disturbances broke out late Sunday.
"As a result of the violence, several Liberian police officers were wounded, one seriously," it said. "Three UN police officers also received minor injuries."
The statement said that Doss "strongly condemns these acts of violence, the responsibility for which must be assumed by the CDC leadership."
Doss "urges Mr George Weah and other leaders of the CDC to call on their supporters to prevent any further disturbances," it said.
He also "wishes to assure the citizens of Monrovia that UNMIL will continue to provide all necessary support to the Liberian law and order agencies in preventing any such acts which could threaten Liberia's hard-earned peace and security."
UNMIL was "continuing to monitor the situation and has stepped up security in Monrovia in order to respond to any similar incident," the statement added.