Council of Patriots Advisor Senator Oscar Cooper Pulls Out

MONROVIA, Montserrado – Sen. Oscar Cooper of Margibi has announced his resignation as an advisor to the Council of Patriots.

The group had organized the Save the State protest on June 7 and is pressuring the government to make changes it feels is necessary to improve governance in the country.

Cooper, who has been quite outspoken on issues of national concern in recent years, made the announcement on Thursday, June 20.

Though the Margibi lawmaker said he has withdrawn from the group, he said he still supports its activities and ideology.

Cooper added that he appreciated the opportunity to have been one of the initial organizers and was satisfied that “despite all of the negative propaganda made against the June 7 protest, Liberians turned out in their numbers and remained peaceful.”

He praised protesters for peacefully making their case without any violence, looting, or misbehavior: “The protest showed how Liberians are becoming matured in their new democratic dispensation.”

“Liberians are learning how to stand up and question their government and also hold their elected and appointed officials accountable,” Cooper emphasized.

He said he had supported the protest to encourage Liberians to challenge inequality and the abuse of power and to be brave enough to ask questions and hold the three branches of government accountable to the people.

Cooper said he did not think the protest alone would accomplish “true change,” but that it allowed the Liberian people to start to demand accountability from the Coalition for Democratic Change government.

“I will continue to speak against the ills of government and make our government officials accountable to the people. I will also continue to provide consultation and moral support to the COP,” he added.

Cooper praised President George Weah’s government for respecting the constitution and the rights of the people to protest while maintaining a mature and professional response.

Henry Costa, one of the two spokespersons for the Council of Patriots, accepted Cooper’s withdrawal from the group and said he respects the senator’s decision.

Meanwhile, the group has said it has submitted its petition to the president’s office and is still waiting for an official acknowledgment of receipt. The group maintains that it will launch a second protest if the president does not begin addressing their demands.

In response to the president’s call for a dialogue, the group has said that a dialogue is not necessary for him to publish his asset declaration or to make a declaration to audit the legislature.

Featured photo by Zeze Ballah

Zeze Ballah

Zeze made his journalism debut as a high school reporter at the LAMCO Area School System. In 2016 and 2017, the Press Union of Liberia awarded Zeze with the Photojournalist of the Year award. Zeze was also the union's 2017 Health Reporter of the Year. He is a Health Journalism Fellow with Internews.

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