Liberia: Protests Simmer Against Cost of Living

Hundreds of protestors gathered in Monrovia, Liberia on Saturday to protest against soaring costs of living as President George Weah returned from a 48-day trip abroad.

Liberia: Protests Simmer Against Cost of Living
Image credit: Reuters [via Aljazeera]

Facts

  • Hundreds of protestors gathered in Monrovia, Liberia on Saturday to protest against soaring costs of living as President George Weah returned from a 48-day trip abroad.
  • The protest was organized by the opposition party. Protestors expressed frustration over the president's trip; Weah has been traveling abroad since the end of October while attending political gatherings and then traveling to Qatar for the World Cup.
  • Large protests have occurred several times throughout Weah's five years in office. However, tensions over his administration's handling of the economy have grown as Liberians face rising food and fuel prices linked to the war in Ukraine and the COVID pandemic.
  • According to the World Food Program, 64 percent of Liberians live below the poverty line — making the West African nation one of the poorest in the world.
  • Since the beginning of December the price of rice, Liberia's staple food, has risen from $15 to $17.50 per 25-kilogram sack, following commodity shortages across the country.

Sources: Al Jazeera, Euro, Reuters, and Local Today.

Narratives

  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Local Today. Weah remains a popular figure in Liberia, and disruptive protests are unlikely to change much in the country. A more effective strategy would be to rally the opposition support base to become more engaged in elections and the democratic process to bring forth healthy dialogue.
  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Reuters. The government is unable to create jobs and keep prices reasonable, yet despite this, the president has abandoned his people. The people of Liberia are protesting because they are suffering and Weah has failed them.