by Dayo Laniyan
Police in Monrovia, capital of Liberia have resorted to firing live rounds and tear gas during protests to a quarantine being imposed to contain the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.
The residents of the capital’s West Point slum area have said that the blockade made of barbed wire keeps them from buying food and working. Apparently four people have been injured in the clashes.
As Liberia’s death toll to the outbreak reached 576, security forces erected the blockade under orders from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, also imposing a curfew.
Last weekend, West Point residents attacked a quarantine centre, looting mattresses and even helping suspected Ebola patients to escape, which is potentially helping to spread the virus to other parts of the capital.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said “We have been unable to control the spread due to discontinued denials, cultural varying practices, disregard for the advice of health workers and disrespect for the warnings by the government.”
Some have dismissed the Ebola outbreak as an outright hoax, while others do not trust Western medicine, saying the disease is the result of witchcraft.
West Point is the country’s largest slum, home to more than 50,000 and sprawls along the Atlantic coast.