Confirmed reports reaching the Daily Observer say the Council of Patriots (CoP), organizers of the planned June 7 “peaceful protest” have rejected pleas by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) delegation to restrict the protests to a single day.
According to insider sources, a member of the Liberian delegation to the ECOWAS parliament (name withheld), who according to sources, virtually lives in Abuja, has been acting behind the scenes with the intention to derail the June 7 protests.
Additionally, according to sources, the said individual had attempted to sit in the meeting between the Council of Patriots and the ECOWAS delegation, however, his attempt was rebuffed by the CoP, who insisted that his presence in the meeting would have necessitated a walkout of the CoP delegation.
Reluctantly, according to sources, the Liberian member of the ECOWAS parliament was forced to leave the meeting hall upon insistence of the CoP.
Further, according to sources, the CoP was asked to disclose what were their demands, but they responded saying the CoP being an amalgamation of several groups, had varying demands, some of which have already been publicly disclosed. They noted further that on the day of the protest, and probably in the succeeding days the protesters, will make known their full list of demands.
In a related development, it has been revealed that threats by Attorney Arthur Johnson to petition the Supreme Court to place a stay order on the June 7 protests have been actualized as the Supreme Court has already cited the parties to appear before Justice-in-Chambers, Joseph Nagbe, for a conference to show reasons why a stay order should or should not be placed on the June 7 protests.
But a source close to the CoP, speaking to the Daily Observer, said the petition is an insidious attempt to quash the right of the people to freely assemble and consult on the common good, as the Constitution provides. Continuing, he said while the Supreme Court is the highest arbiter of justice in the land, it derives its power from the people and therefore lacks the power or legal right to prevent an assembly of the people in whom the Constitution says, all power is inherent.
Therefore, according to the source, the CoP is more likely than not to ignore the citation from the Supreme Court, because in the opinion of the CoP, the Court is allowing itself to be dragged into a matter of a political nature that is non-justiciable.
At this stage, it remains unclear how the matter is going to play out, should protest organizers fail to honor the citation from Justice-in-Chambers, Joseph Nagbe.
Legal pundits say the Court may try to enforce compliance by issuing a Writ of Contempt on protest organizers, and ultimately, a Writ of Arrest.
But given the very short time left to June 7, and given the very politically charged atmosphere, enforcing a Writ of arrest for Contempt could prove to be a very daunting challenge.
Meanwhile, reports say, Monrovia residents have been stocking up on food and other basic necessities in anticipation of a prolonged shut down of commercial activities in the city as a result of the June 7 protests, which is expected to draw a large following.