As a result of the widespread unrest that broke out in several neighborhoods of Freetown and other sections of the country’s northern region, the government of Sierra Leone has imposed a curfew across the entire country. Two police officers were killed on Wednesday when protesters got into fights with security forces and teenagers who were demanding that the president step down because of “economic hardship.”
After holding banners during their earlier demonstration in the city center on Wednesday morning, the women quickly left the area as the tension level increased. According to the police, dozens of protesters have been taken into custody. According to a member of the medical staff at a hospital in Freetown, dozens of people have been hurt. An AFP correspondent saw tear gas being thrown in the direction of the protesters in the Kissy neighborhood in the city’s east end. The protesters were throwing rocks and sticks at the security forces, who responded by firing tear gas in their direction.
According to statements made by a number of demonstrators to AFP, the security officers had also fired live rounds. It has been reported that protesters can be heard screaming “Bio must go!” in reference to President Julius Maada Bio, who is now on a private visit to the United Kingdom. According to NetBlocks, a web monitoring group, there was a temporary restriction placed on access to the internet in Freetown on Wednesday afternoon. In addition, protests took place in the city of Makeni and the town of Magburuka, both of which are located in the Northern Province of the country.
The security sector issued a press release on August 6, 2022, stating that they had monitored inciting social media messages calling for public demonstrations but that no group had requested permission to hold such demonstrations. The release also warned against any planned demonstration and urged citizens to go about their normal business.
The Vice President claims in his address to the country that there have been attempts made by “self-serving Sierra Leoneans” to topple the lawful government of President Julius Maada Bio. He calls these people “self-serving Sierra Leoneans.” “The government says again that it is committed to keeping law and order, which means protecting the basic rights of the general public.” “This directive’s complete implementation has been given the green light by the security industry,” remarks Jalloh, vice president of the country.
At the beginning of the month of July, female market merchants and the opposition politician, Femi Claudius Cole, staged separate demonstrations in response to the rising cost of living. Around fifty other women, including Cole, the founder and leader of the Unity Party, were taken into custody, but they were all later freed without any charges being filed against them.
It was essential for Fatmata Kamara, who took part in the demonstration on Wednesday, to have her voice heard: “I am a Sierra Leonean.” We went out into the street this morning to convey our sentiments to the United Nations, to explain the reasons for our suffering and the issues that we face. First, we do not have freedom of speech; second, there is no respect for us, women; third, our economy is falling, falling, falling; and fourth, the cost of living is quite expensive. Because of it, we are going through tremendous hardships right now.
The United Nations has voiced its alarm over what it referred to as “violent occurrences.” Over the course of the past several months, Sierra Leone’s eight million citizens have seen a jump in the cost of living that is greater than forty percent.