Liberia: Eviction Play – in Cooper’s Family E.L.W.A Land Saga, Residents Riot, Reject Action
Normal activities in the ELWA Robertsfield Highway Community Tuesday came to a standstill as a result of a protest action staged by some residents of the community. Some aggrieved residents of the area who are victims of a Supreme Court ruling in a 180-acres of land dispute in favor of the Cooper’s family took to the street and blocked the highway preventing all vehicles to and from Monrovia safe passage.
The residents during their action placed burning Tires, wood and broken glasses on the main street in protest of an eviction action instituted by the Cooper’s family as a result of the Supreme Court ruling on some residents of the community. The situation intensified to an extend that resulted into residents taking matters in their own hands by throwing stones which led to the intervention of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) of the Liberia National police.
The police team headed by A.B. Kromah, Deputy Police Director for Operation, visited the community of the protesters to have what he said was a meeting with community leaders and elders to plead with their children to call off the protest as it will not change anything. Said Kromah: “We have come not to arrest anyone; we are here to ensure that the law is implemented, the Supreme Court which is the final arbiter of justice have ruled in favor of a group of people and that is while we have come to help them claim what is legally entitled to them. Protest or no protest, the law must prevail.”
Despite efforts to ensure the community participation, the aggrieved members did not yield to the police neither did their elders or community leaders, as they went into action, lighting up and blocking the street with burning substances. As a result of their continued action the police fired tears gas at the protestors and arrested some youths in the area as prime suspects in the violence.
As this story went to press, no serious casualty was reported. Preston Jackson, one of those affected by the action Tuesday described the actions by the family as malicious and criminal in nature. He claimed that as a result of such action in the past he lost LD$ 159,000 and US$ 7,000 during a previous exercise carried out by the court a matter he said, is currently in court.
Nothing more burnt but trouble can still ignite
A day after destroying property at the Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology (SLIET) here, students failed to build consensus with the deemed university management. Unlike Monday, there was no violence and arson and though all their other demands were agreed, students continued to be adamant on the last: the resignation of institute director Sunil Pandey. Even written assurances from senior officials in the district administration and negotiations by state finance minister Parminder Singh Dhinda, who visited the campus in the morning, failed to budge them.
Campus under siege
Hundreds of police personnel, including commandos, seized the campus, 15 kilometres from Sangrur to prevent more riot after on Monday, students had set the record room, laboratories, and a few vehicles and rooms on fire. They also smashed windowpanes and air-conditioners in the auditorium, administrative block, and many teaching departments.
“Monday’s rampage damaged property worth Rs. 2.5 crore,” said dean of student welfare (DSW) AP Singh. Director sent away into hiding Deputy commissioner Kumar Rahul and senior superintendent of police Mandeep Singh are camping in the university since Monday night, when SLIET also moved its director out of Sangrur for his security.
Flag march after more destruction at hostels
On Tuesday, the DC and senior superintendent of police Mandeep Singh Sidhu led a police flag march on the campus around 1am after students smashed some lights and windowpanes at hostels 9 and 10. The closing of hostel messes and cafeterias failed to discourage the students, as even girls spent Monday night under the open sky and continued to protest and raise slogans. The Punjab Students Union, Naujwan Bharat Sabha, and Student Organisation of India (SOI) have joined the agitation.
When the annual examinations at the deemed university are to begin on Thursday, students have pitched tents near university’s bus stand to sit there on indefinite protest. They are arranging their meals from the community kitchens of local gurdwaras. The students want withdrawal of conditions such as 100% attendance, Rs. 100 fine for each lecture missed, mandatory mess bill for Rs. 2,500 a month, course repetition in case of failing any subject, and the ban on motor vehicles.
All objected rules withdrawn
On Tuesday, members of the SLIET management, including registrar Amardeep Singh Dhaliwal, dean of student welfare (DSW) AP Singh, and other functionaries spoke with students and told them the conditions were withdrawn. “The students, however, insisted that the director also be expelled, which was an illogical demand,” said the DSW.
Monday’s riot was pre-planned and undemocratic. Students should have tried talking to us instead.” The DC and SSP went to the students with written assurances of meeting their demands but the protesters tore off the letter in front of the senior officials. Later, even heads of many departments made futile attempts to pacify students.
Want to settle it without force: DC
“All student demands, including lowering the minimum attendance to 75%, are met. The protest now is unnecessary. We don’t want to use force against students, so attempts are on to convince them,” said the DC. The college management called up the students’ parents and asked them to take their wards back. The deadlock continues, and until the filing of this report, no side had blinked.
Entrance test likely be postponed
The All-India SLIET Entrance Test (SET) is likely to be postponed from May 25, after the examination record room was burnt during Monday’s violence. Nearly 18,000 students had applied to sit the test, said DSW AP Singh. The application forms, along with the details, were set ablaze. “We are left with no information about candidates to be able to despatch admit cards. The test is likely to be postponed,” the DSW added.
Power poachers damage private property
Kliptown police were on Wednesday inundated with calls and people arriving in large numbers to report cases of malicious damage to property after residents ran riot when City Power, metro police and Transnet officials pounced on the informal settlement in a bid to get rid of illegal electricity connections.
Seven protesters were arrested for allegedly attacking “anti-electricity theft” campaign officials with bricks, stones and burning tyres and will on Thursday appear in the Kliptown Magistrate’s Court on charges of public violence. Station spokesperson Constable Zanele Bens said yesterday: “Things are very bad. People are still coming in to open cases in large numbers.
Shops were closed. Police vehicles and private cars were stoned, but it seems a bit quiet today (Wednesday) and business is running as usual.” Police and patrolling Nyala’s maintained a heavy presence in the area. The police said one woman sustained a serious bullet would injury on the arm and was admitted to an undisclosed hospital because she remains a “suspect”.
Six men arrested for causing Aimas clash
The Papua Police reportedly arrested six suspects in a recent clash between demonstrators and police in Aimas district, Sorong regency, West Papua, on May 1, in which two people were killed and five others injured. The six men — identified with by initials AS, HS, KK, OK, YM and OK — have been charged with violating articles 106, 107 and 110 of the Criminal Code on subversion. “They were arrested and named as suspects as they are believed to be instigators of a radical group who had voiced anti-government sentiment,” said Papua Police chief spokesman Sr. Comr. I Gede Sumerta Jaya in Jayapura on Tuesday.
The radical group, led by Isak Kalaibit, remains anonymous as of now. “The moment the incident broke out, Isak fled and his whereabouts remain unknown,” said Sumerta. When joint personnel from the Sorong Police and local Indonesian Military (TNI) command in Aimas were quelling the riot, two people were killed while another victim Salomina Kalabin, 42, died at the Sele Be Solu Hospital in Sorong.
According to Gede, the projectile extricated from Salomina’s body was from an organic firearm owned either by the National Police or the Indonesian Military (TNI). Separately in Medan, North Sumatra, National Police chief spokesman Insp. Gen. Suhardi Alius said the National Police would continue to monitor the situation in Papua, adding that the police were currently on full alert following a report that a Free Papua Movement (OPM) member was shot and injured on Monday evening. Suhardi expressed concern over the rumors of the death of an OPM member, which could spark tension again in Papua.
Filipino ‘Illegals’ clash with Riyadh embassy staff
Undocumented Filipinos and staff at the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh were involved in physical scuffles yesterday as tensions rose on the fourth day of protests over repatriation issues. Both sides had their own versions on what took place, but videos and pictures appeared to show harassment from both workers and embassy staff. The clashes appeared to center around medical care, water, food, and places to wash and rest.
The embassy released a picture, with a statement, allegedly showing the campers harassing one of the embassy’s security guards. According to the statement, this happened when staff tried to relocate sick children. The statement claimed that a Nepalese guard, was collared by a group of campers and kicked by one woman when he tried to approach her shortly after she allegedly changed her mind about the relocation of her child. However, Garry Martinez, Migrante second nominee and international chairperson, claimed in a statement:
“Ambassador (Ezzedin) Tago said that the child would be taken to the hospital but after a few hours we discovered that the child was not given any medical attention at all and was never even taken to the hospital.” Tago said yesterday that the embassy was only concerned about the health care of the woman and her children. “I urge all my workers to ensure peace and to be patient, while we work to solve all their problems.” Some Filipino workers said they clashed with security guards when they were stopped from taking food and water to their companions inside the embassy grounds.
The stranded workers claimed that there was a shortage of food and water from the Philippine embassy. There was also a lack of places to rest that was causing health problems for them, especially their children. The embassy had proposed to relocate the stranded workers to a rest house and offered to take the sick children to the hospital along with their mothers. The move to the rest house was reportedly rejected by the workers because it excluded the men. Carlos Alpajora Jr., one of the protesters, said:
“It’s been four days since we started our protest against the Philippine embassy authorities and camped out here with no results so far.” Another worker said: “We cannot cook or take a bath because our water supply was completely cut off even in the embassy’s bathrooms,” said one of the workers. More workers have arrived to protest inside and outside the embassy grounds according to Eric Jucson, spokesperson of Migrante.