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Court lacks power to stop protest

-Protest organizers

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Following a closed door conference held Monday, 3 June with Chambers Justice Joseph Nagbe, June 7 protest chief mobilizer Henry Costa has told reporters that the presiding indicated that the Supreme Court cannot stop the protest from being held.

Both the Government of Liberia and the June 7 protest organizers Council of Patriots (COP) were sued by a civil society group called Citizens United to Sustain the Peace, over concerns that the pending protest would violate other citizens’ rights as it did not have a time limit neither a particular place where protesters will assemble.

Critics and opposition of President George MannehWeah’s government say they will take part in pending protest endorsed by four collaborating opposition parties to demand the sacking of Finance Minister Samuel Tweah, Central Bank Governor Nathaniel Patray and declaration of President Weah’s assets.Among other things, the protesters also want President Weah to address the bad economic situation in the country.

Mr. Tweah and Mr. Patray continue to remain targets of public perceptions that a US$25m intended for a mop-up exercise was allegedly mismanaged, mainly because the General Auditing Commission (GAC) finds that 52 entities that received US$1,092,292.00 during the mop -up exercise per CBL records did not answer or reply to GAC’s telephone calls and text messages during investigation.

Mr. Patray served as co- chair to Minister Tweah on the Economic Management Team (EMT) which spearheaded the mop-up exercise.Several other discrepancies are cited in the GAC report, but Justice Minister Musa Dean says no money went missing in the US$25m mop-up exercise.

However Mr. Henry Costa told reporters outside the Court on Monday that if the president accepts protesters’ petition and begin to deliver on their immediate demands including sacking Mr. Twea, Mr. Patray and declaring his assets, then they will leave the streets.
According to Costa, the Chambers Justice says the issue of protest is a constitutional matter and the Court does not have the power to stop it.

The lawyer representing the Citizens United to Sustain the Peace Cllr. Dempster Brown had complained the government and protesters because there was no location stated for protest.
But during the conference with Justice Nagbe, Chambers Joseph Nagbe mandated the Ministry of Justice to get back to him between Monday and Wednesday to show where the protesters will assemble.

Earlier, Justice Minister Musa Dean had said government is still seeking advice to get back to the Justice in Chambers regarding the location of the protest.–By Winston W. Parley

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