Demolition Victims Protest
Victims of the recent demolition exercise in Gio Town, Congo Town yesterday set up road blocks preventing those coming to the commercial city of Monrovia to enter the city. The action on the part of the demolition victims according to them was intended to draw government’s attention to their plights. They said their houses were broken down by the court through the influence of former Montserrado County Senator, Grace Manor backed by the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL).
The victims of the demolition exercise early Tuesday set up road blocks due to what they call mass destruction of their houses, thus leaving them homeless.
The parcel of land is about eight acres and is allegedly being claimed by Mrs. Grace Manor, formal confidant of former President Charles Taylor. The disputed land in question is said to have been sold to the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) for about USD$ 700,000.
According to the spokesperson of the aggrieved community they are not going to court, and the court should come for them. He alleged that the government demolished 42 houses and left them with nothing and therefore they were not going to leave the street until government provides homes for them.
In an interview, the Spokesman of the aggrieved demolition victims, Gontee Meddrics said hundreds of them were made homeless as a result of the recent demolition exercise carried out in the community upon the order of the court.
According to the affected residents of Gio Town, since the embarrassing situation, they and their children continue to sleep in the dew on the street. “Our wives and children cook on the street because we have nowhere to go right now,” Mr. Meddrics in sorrowful tone said.
Our reporters who went on the scene of the road blocks observed that many of the victims including women and children are sleeping on the street without shelter since the demolition exercise as they have nowhere to go for residence.
“We were beaten by officers of the Police Support Unit (PSU) but we will remain here because this is our legitimate property and can’t surrender it to anyone. Our rights have been violated by the government and that is why we are here to fight for our rights,” he added.
Some of the placards carried by the protesting victims have inscriptions such as; We are Liberians; we are not animals; is our government speechless? Wake up government; NOCAL is violating our rights, among others.
They accused the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) of paying US$700,000 for the eight acres of land which they were occupying prior to the demolition exercise. According to the victims, NOCAL is purchasing the land from Madam Grace Manor and that is why she sought warrant from the court to evict them within less than two hours.
Meanwhile, the main opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) says it support the action being taken by the demolition victims.
In an interview, the Vice Chairman for Political Affairs, Mulba Morlu said the action taken by the victims is justifiable as they have the rights as any other citizen to live.
Mr. Morlu called on the government of Liberia through President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to immediately intervene to avoid chaos as the situation deteriorates. ‘These people’s rights have been trampled upon and that is why they have set up road blocks; they must be listened to and address their plight because if this is not done who knows what may happen later?’Morlu said.
He said the CDC backs the action taken by the protesters and will stand with them in their condition until government can amicably resolve the ongoing situation in Gio Town. He then reminded the Liberian Government to understand that Liberia belongs to all Liberians and as such the rights of all its citizens must be adhered to.
At the same time, upon the intervention of Deputy Police Director, Abel Kromah, the affected citizens left the street but said they are still seeking audience with the Government of Liberia through President Sirleaf to ensure that the problem be resolved.