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Civilians Play Key Role in Promoting Peaceful Elections in Liberia

Civilians Play Key Role in Promoting Peaceful Elections in Liberia

Context:

Civilians played an important role in maintaining peace through Liberia’s first democratic transition of power.

In the News:

  • “Despite the potential for violence, the 2017 elections were held without any major incidents, thanks in part to the important role local citizens played in working together to promote peace.”
  • “A group of Liberian women mobilized for peace using a variety of tactics, including three weeks of public prayer and fasting heading into the October 2017 elections. These women…gathered daily on the roadside near party headquarters for several presidential candidates regardless of the weather. Utilizing many of the same nonviolent, mass action strategies they used to help end Liberia’s civil wars, the women appealed to political parties and their fellow citizens for the 2017 elections to be peaceful.”
  • Leading up to and during the 2017 elections, local Liberians engaged in a variety of peacebuilding activities aimed at urging their fellow citizens to “say no to violence.” Participants included members of the Liberia National Police and pen-pen motorcycle taxi drivers, groups that historically have had violent interactions, working side by side along with market people, youth, and other community members. These activities did not just bring local citizens together but emphasized the importance of peace and the need to maintain and sustain it.

Peace Science Insights:

  • National and local peace initiatives are mutually influential. The success of one increases the chances of success in the other.
  • Groups seeking to develop peace zones must understand the important role of local participation, the ties to local resistance forces, and the role played by external actors.
  • Knowledge of successful resistance movements increases the effectiveness and strength of new peace movements.

References:

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