The office of the National Chronicle newspaper was yesterday shut down by some officers of the Liberia National Police who stormed the paper’s offices on Carey Street.
However, it is not clear whether the police acted on a court’s order, or was an action in line with the State of Emergency declared recently by President Sirleaf to combat the Ebola Virus.
Late yesterday evening, several police officers went to the offices of the newspaper and ordered its closure. The presence of the officers caused fear, causing many businesses on the streets to close down their operations.
Also, the news of the police of about 100 police officers on the street was received differently in the Duala area, as people ran helter-skelter, when it was rumored in that area that there was shooting “in town“ by security officers.
Earlier, it was learned that the officers went to the paper’s office to arrest its Managing Editor and publisher Philibert Brown. However, his office was closed, without Mr. Brown, being arrested.
Journalists from several media institutions thronged on the scene to know what was happening to their colleagues at the Chronicle though some were prevented by police from getting on the scene of the action.
Following hours of commotion, the president of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) Abdullah Kamara informed anxious journalists that he had just spoken to Police Director, Chris Massaquoi who said he knew nothing about the police operation on Carey Street.
Later Mr. Brown emerged from his office and said he was a free man but his institution has been shut down by Government. He said police used tear gas to break into the offices of the Chronicle and demanded that the paper be shut down.
However, Brown was taken away from the scene by angry crowd who chanted anti-government slogans in support of the Liberian media.
No reason was given up to press time, but the closure of the paper comes days after some publications in the paper. One of which was a story that Vice President Joseph Boakai dumped President Sirleaf when he met U.S. President Obama recently in the United States where the Vice President represented President Sirleaf at the African Forum.
Meanwhile, the Vice President’s office has denied the story.