Liberia: Several Students Arrested

Between 15 to 20 students will be dragged to court this week on charges of vandalism and disorderly conduct, amongst others, for their role in Tuesday’s violent disturbances in the city, police have disclosed.

Police Deputy Inspector for Operations, Al Karnly, told this paper Tuesday that the students, mainly from the Monrovia Consolidated School System, will face other charges, including assaulting police officers and inflicting bodily harm.

On the other hand, eye witnesses told this paper that several students were brutalized by the police, leaving some with blood all over their bodies in the streets, while others were taken to hospital.

Hundreds of students from MCSS (the Monrovia Consolidated School System) including Tubman High and G.W. Gibson, protesting for better conditions of service for their teachers, Tuesday clashed with anti-riot police after the aggrieved students besieged the Capitol By-pass and several streets in Sinkor.

“We want to learn, but no teacher. We are protesting because our teachers have left our classrooms, saying no pay and government must increase their salaries.

“But anytime we want to express our grievances, police would come and brutalize us. Today, we will not give-up, aah woo-see!” Abrahim Sanko, an angry student of Tubman High, vowed.

Police authorities affirmed arresting some of the students who, chanting slogans, turned violent and threw stones at officers of the Police Support Unit (PSU).

The students are demanding better pay and improved living conditions for their teachers, who in fact, are on a go-slow for these reasons.

Some education authorities have speculated that teachers influenced the student protest, but one teacher who preferred anonymity denied the allegation.

“No, no, don’t say that. We didn’t tell them; they are just fed-up with the system,” the teacher told this paper Tuesday.

The students, who were also mobilized from various government schools here, said government’s protracted failure to address their teachers’ plight, which according to them, include low salaries and delayed payments, has left the instructors to desert classes.

“I am in 12th grade and, by May, we should start taking our WAEC exams. Tell me. How are we going to pass, when our teachers no longer come to school to teach us? They have all left. Today marks the third day of their strike. We want the government to pay them, else, we will continue our actions,” Moses Flomo, a student who claimed to be in 12th grade told this paper.

They threatened to intensify their protest should the government fail to promptly address their concerns.

But Police inspector, Darlington George, warned that police will not hesitate to remove protesting students if their actions impede the free-flow of traffic.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201103231024.html

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