-As protesters demand steel giant live up to MDA
At least one person sustained a head injury on Monday, May 22, when dozens of citizens staged a protest at Arcelor Mittal Liberia Buchanan's office demanding that the concession company live up to its Minerals Development Agreement (MDA).
The protest follows a weeklong go-slow by employees from the company's Nimba and Grand Bassa operation sites demanding payment of salary arrears.
The citizens blocked the main entrance of ArcelorMittal's Concession, the train track, and several major points as they burned tires elsewhere near the company's facility.
The citizens were said to have besieged Arcelor Mittal premises early Monday morning to demand the company's attention to their concerns after several meetings have failed.
The protest turned violent when police were deployed to the scene to calm the situation and restore law and order.
Monday's protest by citizens in Grand Bassa was intended to draw the company's attention to its Social Corporate Responsibility to the county as stated in its MDA.
According to the citizens as part of the MDA, Arcelor Mittal Liberia is expected to construct schools, clinic, and a washing plant in the county, but the steel giant has failed to comply after several meetings with local authorities.
Our reporter who was on the scene said, the citizens were angered by the news that instead of constructing the Washing Plant in their county as initially agreed upon, the company was allegedly seen moving materials to neighboring Nimba County for the construction of the plant.
The leader of the protesters Abraham King Jones, who sustained injury during the protest, when police tried to calm the situation told journalists that Mittal Steel Liberia has failed to live up to its MDA.
According to Jones, citizens' anticipation is that when the Washing Plant is constructed in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County it would create job opportunities for them, but taking same to Yekepa, Nimba County is depriving them of much-needed jobs.
He said several attempts to meet with management to reconsider their decision have failed, as company officials have refused to meet with the people.
Jones alleged that an unidentified officer of the Emergency Response Unit used the back of his gun to hit his head. The citizens have vowed to continue their protest till Arcelor Mittal can comply with the MDA.
Attempts to get a response from the Company's Communication Department did not materialize as of press time.