University students have been injured in Liberia after their protest against the high cost of living was allegedly disrupted by supporters of the ruling party – the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC).
The incident happened as the country celebrated its independence anniversary on Tuesday.
The protesters included some members of the ruling party, who are unhappy with the government’s performance..
They had gathered in front of the US embassy, as President George Weah attended an official programme with visiting heads of state.
An image of a protester severely-bruised has been shared on Facebook, sparking outrage.
It is unclear how many of them were wounded.
According to local media on Wednesday, the group disrupting the protest, called the “Council of Patriots”, was heard saying they had gone to stage a counter protest to dispel claims by the student demonstrators that the government of George Weah was not performing well.
Supporters of the counter-protesters also called Liberian radio stations on Wednesday supporting opposition to the original demonstration, saying it was wrong to have such an event on independence day.
However, an outspoken ruling party member has condemned the attack on the student protesters.
“Attacking peaceful citizens from protesting and sending people to brutalize them is totally wrong and unacceptable,” Karishma Pelham said.
The ruling CDC party’s chairman, Mulbah Morlue, distanced the party from the violence, telling the BBC the party does not support violence.
“We do not condone or sanction violence; we have a zero tolerance policy on violence,” he said.
He also denied the CDC has an offshoot group, and said police should investigate what he called the “alleged” events.
“If anyone is found guilty, they should be prosecuted in accordance with the law,” he said.