Liberia Ebola Victim Burial 2014
Volunteers lower an Ebola victim's body into a grave amid the 2014 Ebola West Africa outbreak. WHO/Tarik Jasarevic/Handout via Reuters

Rioters in central Liberia blocked the country’s busiest highway Saturday to protest the government’s delay in collecting the bodies of Ebola victims. Police raced to the scene to quell the demonstrations before they reached a violent pitch, the Associated Press reported.

“There are reports of dead bodies lying in streets and houses,” Lindis Hurum, the emergency coordinator for the Doctors Without Borders charity group, told the AP. In the central town of Weala, about 50 miles from the capital of Monrovia, several bodies had by lying by the side of the road for two days.

The World Health Organization, or WHO, on Friday declared the Ebola epidemic in West Africa an international public health emergency. The outbreak -- the deadliest on record -- has so far killed at least 961 people in the region, including nearly 300 in Liberia. Many people have contracted the virus after touching or handling corpses of Ebola victims, the AP noted. Liberia’s government has ordered bodies to be cremated to stem fears the virus would spread via neighborhood burials.

Liberian Information Minister Lewis Brown fired a warning shot on state radio, telling the rioters police "are on their way to you,” the AP said. "Security people are on their way to put things under control. We don't want people taking the law into their own hands."

Visit an International Business Times map to see where the outbreak has spread.