Youth riots erupt in Liberia over vacation job payment

By Shout-Africa Liberia Correspondent – Thousands of youths rampaged through Liberia’s capital Monrovia on Friday, smashing cars with stones in protest over late payment for “summer vacation jobs” they said they had done for the government.

Security forces fired teargas to disperse the protesters in various parts of the West African state’s crumbling seaside city, where main thoroughfares including the road to the airport were blocked and jammed with trapped vehicles.

A Reuters witness said protesters were smashing car windows with rocks and tree branches, and said several United Nations and police vehicles were badly damaged. A protester threw a rock into the side of the Reuters vehicle.

Many are speculating that this might be a result of the turn of event of the job ,as it was initially for 5,000 student but blotted to 55,000 now ,which will take longer time to pay all the student on time . According to a closed source to the program on local media this morning .

Liberia’s government has a summer work program for students, which includes manual jobs such as street cleaning. A government official was not immediately available to comment on the protests or whether payments had been made.

Hundreds of young people took to the streets in the Liberian capital Monrovia on Thursday, angry at the government’s late payment of casual workers’ wages. Demonstrations began peacefully but descended into riots during the afternoon. Tyres were burnt, rocks thrown and at least one government-owned vehicle was set on fire.

The riots blocked off the city’s main thoroughfare for part of the afternoon. Cosima Bolo, a student who worked as a street cleaner for several days in early December, told reporters he was protesting because of late payment.“The government owes me 30 dollars,” he said. “They promised us we would be paid today, but nothing happened. They can’t keep treating the youth badly.”

Tensions remain high among supporters of Liberia’s main opposition party, the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), after a pre-election demonstration was fired upon by riot police in November, killing at least three.

Tensions have been running high in Liberia since a presidential run-off election in November won by incumbent Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, but which her main opposition rival Winston Tubman has rejected as fraudulent.

Liberia is among the poorest countries in the world, and its infrastructure remains in ruins after years of civil war that ended in 2003.

 Credit: Reuters