The U.N.'s peacekeeping mission in Liberia has stepped up security measures across the capital after police clashed with angry supporters of the loser in the country's first postwar presidential election.
In a late Sunday speech that fired up hundreds of supporters, international soccer superstar George Weah said he would work to stymie the January inauguration of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who won the November balloting to become Africa's first-ever elected female head of state. Weah rejects the results, charging fraud.
Angry Weah supporters attacked U.N. and Liberian police afterward in Monrovia's streets, leaving several security force members injured, the U.N. said in a statement.
Police detained 40 Weah supporters suspected of rioting, it said. The U.N. mission blamed Weah's political party for the violence, asking party leaders "to call on their supporters to prevent any further disturbances."
Security measures have been bolstered across Monrovia to prevent any further strife.
Weah, in his speech, echoed the fiery bombast used by warlords and factional leaders to stir up militants during Liberia's ruinous 1989-2003 civil war.
"Fellow partisans, revolution is a noble cause. We must fight to obtain it," he boomed.
"It is our right to seek justice, and we will use all means to obtain that," he told a cheering crowd. "I know one day we will be free."
The elections for a leader to take over from a transitional administration arranged under peace deals that ended the war were supposed to move Liberia past its recent bloody history, which saw some 200,000 people killed in years of fighting that ruined the country, the AP reports.
US President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Qadimi signed an agreement on July 26 to formally end the USA's military presence in the country by the end of the year