Liberians Plan Big Demonstration

By Sidiki Trawally

Philadelphia, PA

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

January 24, 2003

A planned demonstration to protest President Charles Taylor's alliance with the Al Qaeda terrorist network and the deteriorating conditions in Liberia will be held in central Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, today, January 24, 2003. According to the head of the organizing committee, Dean Wilson, the rally will begin at 11: o clock in the morning at the JFK Plaza.

In an exclusive interview Monday, Mr. Wilson said Taylor's connection with these terrorists raises serious concerns for Liberians in the Diasporas. He said " there are credible reports that our country is involved with terrorism which threatens her sovereignty and will also affect the livelihood of Liberians all over the world, so it is time that we say enough is enough."

Wilson said Liberians will ask the United States government to go after Charles Taylor at all cost, adding " United States government said it would go after any one suspected of harbouring Al Qaeda terrorists, so we will be asking the United States to go after Taylor and his terrorist network."

"We are also concern about the living conditions of our people in Liberia," Wilson said, and added, " our people are dying every day, there is no electricity, no safe drinking water, no hope for our people, our people lives at risk. We are really concern about these things."

Wilson explained that for six years since Taylor came to power, Liberian people continue to suffer, saying, " Our people can't express themselves freely. Taylor controls everything including the judiciary and the legislative branches of government. He has also prostituted the Liberian economy and the political system. He is yet to make good his campaign promises to our people, so we can't sit there and allow another six years under this man (Taylor)."

On the forthcoming presidential elections scheduled for October this year, Wilson warned "any attempt by Charles Taylor or anyone to hold elections in Liberia without putting in place an election procedure that would allow international supervision, will yield multiple demonstrations by Liberians in the United States and other parts of the world until our voices are heard."

He also warned those planning taking state power by the barrel of guns. "We are of the conviction that free and fair elections will be the only way forward. We will not support any one taking power by force of arms. We like to make this equivocally clear that Liberians will not condone military actions as means of taking state power."

Meanwhile Wilson has disclosed that his committee would be staging three phases of the demonstration. He said the second phase will be held nationwide and the third rally would be held in the US capital, Washington D.C. He called on Liberians to come out and support the rally this weekend. " No matter what political philosophy or ideology you have, we want you to come out and join the process that will lead us to freeing our people in Liberia."

He strongly emphasized the need for a strong political environment in Liberia, adding " with Charles Taylor as president, there won't be any safe environment for you and I to exercise our franchises freely, so we have make sure that our common enemy is removed. "Wilson also pointed out that he does not have any political ambition, but " I am joining all other Liberians to demonstrate because I believe there is nowhere like home."