A prominent critic of Liberian President George Weah has landed in the country before anti-government protests planned for later this month.
Hundreds of cheering supporters welcomed Henry Costa after his arrival on Thursday. The host of a popular radio show, Costa frequently criticised Weah before authorities closed his station in October.
“I am very excited seeing such a crowd here to welcome me,” Costa told reporters at the airport before heading to the centre of the seaside capital, Monrovia, in an open-top car.
“I was not arrested as you can see,” said Costa, described by local media as “the US-based owner” of the now-shuttered Roots FM, who hosted his morning show via the internet.
“I am here for the protest and the protest must go on.”
Costa is also one of the leaders of the Council of Patriots, an opposition group that organised mass protests against Weah, a former international football star, in June. Another protest is planned for December 30.
However, the Liberian Ministry of Justice refused to authorise the rally last month, labelling calls for the president to step down unconstitutional.
Weah, who was sworn in as Liberia’s president in January 2018, is under growing pressure over his management of a financial crisis in his impoverished country.
Bhofal Chambers, an MP from Weah’s party, accused the opposition of treason.
“Calling for an unconstitutional removal of an elected president is unquestionably a crime of treason, terrorism and subversion,” he said at a news conference on Thursday.
In October, the government shut down Costa’s radio station – after accusing it of inciting violence.
It also closed a radio station owned by a government official.
Still traumatised by back-to-back civil wars and the 2014-2016 Ebola crisis, Liberia is struggling to revive its flatlining economy.