LIBERIA: Human Rights Lawyer Files Alternative Writ Of Mandamus To Prevent June 7 Protest
The lawyer representing Citizens United to Sustain Peace and Democracy, Cllr. Dempster Brown, has filed a petition for an alternative Writ of Mandamus to Supreme Court Justice-in-Chamber Joseph Nagbe against the planned June 7 protest by the ‘Council of Patriots’.
Mandamus is a judicial writ issued as a command to an inferior court or ordering a person to perform a public or statutory duty.
Alternative Writ is a common law writ issued by the court commanding the person against whom it is issued either to do a specific thing or to show cause why he or she should not be compelled to do it.
In the writ, Cllr. Brown stated that they are citizens of the Republic of Liberia whose responsibility is to protect the rights of the Liberian people to sustain the peace and democracy that the country is enjoying today.
The writ was filed on Tuesday, May 28, to Justice in-Chamber Joseph Nagbe.
Cllr. Brown stated that co-respondents, the ‘Council of Patriots’ informed the Government by and through co-respondents Attorney General and Chairman of the joint security of the Ministry of Justice through a communication that they have planned a protest for June 7.
The Council of Patriots’ communication stated that the protest will commence on June 7, meaning that the protest is indefinite.
He quoted Article 17 of the Liberian Constitution which states that “All persons, at all times, in an orderly and peaceable manner, shall have the right to assemble and consult upon the common good, to instruct their representatives, to petition the Government or other functionaries for the redress of grievances and associate with others to request the government for a permit to state their indefinite protest.”
Cllr Brown indicated in the writ that co-respondent Attorney General’s failure to designate a specific venue where the government representative and patriots will meet for the presentation of their petition will violate the rights of other citizens who will not protest.
They pointed out that the much publicized June 7 protest has created fear in investors, teachers, parents and health workers; and therefore will not allow their children to go to school; health workers will not go to work; all markets and stores will be closed because there is no designated venue for the presentation of the petition.
He expressed concern that all streets will be blocked commencing June 7 which violate the rights of the citizens of Liberia and foreign residents to free movement.
“Wherefore and in view of the foregoing petitioners pray the court to designate a venue where the government and the co-respondents, Council of Patriots, will meet to present their petition preferably Samuel Kanyan Doe Sports Complex located in Paynesville or the Antoinette Tubman Stadium located on the Un Drive,” Cllr. Brown said.
The government should provide security for co-respondent Council of Patriots, he also recommended.
The Council of Patriots, now co-respondents, should be given one day for the presentation of their petition.
The petition prays the court to grant their petition for the issuance of the alternative writ of mandamus against the respondents and factual reasons for the writ