Liberian police fire tear gas to disperse protest over Ebola quarantine

by Reuters
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 11:30 GMT

Soldiers from the Liberian army monitor a border checkpoint as part of Operation White Shield to control the Ebola outbreak. REUTERS/Sabrina Karim BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE

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By Clair MacDougall

MONROVIA, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Police in the Liberian capital Monrovia fired tear gas on Wednesday to disperse a stone-throwing crowd agitating to leave a neighbourhood placed under quarantine because of the Ebola virus, witnesses said.

Liberian authorities introduced a nationwide curfew on Tuesday and put the neighbourhood - West Point - under quarantine. The rundown area has been hit by Ebola, which has killed more than 1,200 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia and five in Nigeria.

There were no injuries reported in the clash which witnesses said started after security forces blocked roads to the neighbourhood early on Wednesday with tables, chairs and barbed wire. Residents said they were given no warning of the blockade, which prevented them from getting to work or buying food.

"We just saw it (the blockade) this morning. We came out and we couldn't go anywhere. I haven't heard from anybody in authority what happened," Alpha Barry, 45, who works as a money changer, told Reuters.

"I don't have any food and we're scared," said Barry, who said he was from Guinea and has four children under 13.

A crowd at West Point looted a temporary holding centre for suspected Ebola cases at the weekend, 17 of whom fled. All 17 were now accounted for and being treated at another centre, the government said. (Additional reporting by Alphonso Toweh; Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; editing by John Stonestreet)

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