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Protesters defy Supreme Court

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A multitude of protesters from Montserrado County District #8 gathered near President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s temporary office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after initially resisting an eviction order and defying a Supreme Court ruling that grants 48 acres of land to a former lawmaker, Jesse C. Payne.

Having cited the Supreme Court’s Mandate and its Opinion dated June 29, 2010 and the reconfirmation of such decision on September 15, 2015 by a justice in chambers, the Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice had ordered the ousting, eviction and ejection of the protesters (petitioners) who were occupying the property in question.

But one of the protesters Ordell Jarbell argued that the Supreme Court could not make such a ruling, saying “the Supreme Court is sound enough to pass such ruling to say one man owns 48 acres of land in the Republic of Liberia, it’s impossible.”

“…But we the native people will not relent. We will not give our property to … Congo man – whoever man you may be, you got some Jesse Payne or James S. Payne to come and take our property. We say no to that and complete no,” Jarbell said as her fellow protesters responded with militant slogans and whistle sound.

The 48 acres in question is said to run from Saye Town to Slipway including the Du River that lies between Monrovia and Bushrod Island. “Ok, one man says from Saye Town to Slipway including the Du River is for him; the Supreme Court sits there and pass such ruling … and they gave the man more than 30 PSU [Police Support Unit] on Saturday to come and demolish people’s properties,” she added.

Jarbell told journalists that they resisted the demolition exercise of their properties on Saturday, while her colleagues repeatedly chanted in the background: “we want justice,” as others blew whistles.
She claimed that their ancestors resided on the properties for the last 70 years with alleged “legitimate deeds,” adding that their peaceful protest was prompted by a Supreme Court ruling in favor of Jesse Payne who claims 48 acres of land in Monrovia from Saye Town to Slipway including the DU River.

She argued that no squatter right would ever allow anyone to reside on a land for 70. A community chair in the district Mr. Jeremiah Weartie said they were protesting because on Saturday morning, October 17, Jesse Payne carried PSU officers and sheriffs to evict them.

He therefore said they were trying to get the President involved in the situation that is unfolding in their district. He claimed that they were not in court with Jesse Payne and they don’t know him, but said the court document ordering their eviction was taken to their community along with police and sheriffs.

He insists that they will not sit there to see their people to be homeless, as he alleged to have legitimate deeds obtained from his parents that allegedly settled in the area in the 30s when there was no road.

By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah

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