By Bill W. Cooper
The Chairman of the Council of Patriots (COP), Henry P. Costa yesterday received a rousing welcome at the Robert International Airport (RIA) from thousands of Liberians who are said to be his supporters and admirers, but later the peaceful situation turned chaotic as he was approaching
Mr. Costa who arrived by 11:00 am yesterday was greeted by thousands of supporters including the COP’s acting Chairman, Mohammed Ali as well as Rep. Yekeh Kolubah of District Number 10. He was fully guided by the joint security team until he boarded his vehicle for the Center of Intellectual Exchange of Opinion (CEIO) in Monrovia.
Speaking to reporters at the RIA, the COP Chairman, Henry Costa lauded his supporters for the welcome given him, emphasizing that there should not be problem when one wants to return to his home country and that he was excited to be home.
Costa stressed that his arrival into the country is because of his planned December 30th protest, adding “when you say the President must step down, you have committed no crime. So it is the intent of most Liberians who will be coming to the protest”.
He added that “the Justice Minister does not know the law, as the law says you have freedom of expression and assembly in line with Article 17 and 15 of the 1986 Constitution of the country and we will combine the both and utilize it on December 30th.”
On his way to Monrovia, it was observed by Journalists that the vehicle of Mr. Costa was left alone as there was no Police Officer guiding it in order to regulate the traffic at which time Police Spokesperson, Moses Carter was called for clarification towards the allegation and said “Mr. Costa coming from America does not means that police should guide him but all I can say is that we have our men fully deployed along the RIA road reaching to ELWA junction.”
He explained further “we also have men deployed along the road leading to Monrovia which Mr. Costa and his supporters would be instructed to use the Airfield, Jallah Town Road, as he would not be allowed to pass in front of the Foreign Affairs Ministry and citizens can be assured that everything would be peaceful.”
However, as Costa approached VAMOMA, it was observed that the police had already barricaded the road, as vehicles, including that of Costa were not allowed to pass through. This lasted for almost 5 hours. As a result, a man who was carrying his son for operation after he was advised by doctors at the John F. Kennedy Hospital to transfer him to the Catholic Hospital could not do so because of the chaotic situation.
After several hours of patiently waiting for the clearing of the road, it was when some unidentified individuals wearing a red T-shirt came with weapons that included, Knife, Cutlasses, Sticks with many nails among others, at which time they intruded into the crowd, something that resulted to violence as stone-throwing and the shooting of teargas began.
After several minutes of the chaotic scene, it was later calmed down by the police and vehicles began to ply the streets freely, at which time six persons were arrested by the police in connection to the violence.
Costa Receives Rousing Welcome , But…
By Bill W. Cooper