Anti-government protest in Freetown Anti-government protest in Freetown 

Sierra Leone: Nationwide curfew imposed amid anti-government protest

Sierra Leonean authorities declare a nationwide curfew following anti-government protests that led to deadly clashes between demonstrators and security operatives.

By Benedict Mayaki, SJ

A nationwide curfew has been declared in Sierra Leone, following massive anti-government protests in the capital, Freetown, and other areas of the country.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets on Wednesday to protest inflation and the rising cost of living in the West African country.

According to news reports, the protests grew violent at times as demonstrators clashed with the police in Freetown, with reports of at least two officers and one civilian killed after a day of protests.

Nationwide curfew

In a national broadcast, Vice-president Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh announced the nationwide curfew on Wednesday from 3 p.m., saying that the protest has led to the “loss of lives of innocent Sierra Leoneans including security personnel,” without giving further details.

For his part, President Julius Maada Bio, on Twitter, said: “As a government, we have the responsibility to protect every citizen of Sierra Leone. What happened today was unfortunate and will be fully investigated."

Images and footage on social media sites showed crowds of anti-government protestors burning tires in the capital and throwing rocks at security forces.

The protesters demanded the departure of President Bio, who was elected in 2018 and still has about 10 months left in his term. Their grievances stem from long-standing frustration with the government which has been exacerbated by rising prices for basic goods in the country.

Earlier on Wednesday, internet monitor NetBlocks also reported the country was experiencing disruptions to its internet services from several providers.

Appeals from the International Community

Following the demonstrations, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), issued a statement on Wednesday condemning “the violence that occurred in many locations in Sierra Leone and have led to loss of lives.”

The regional political and economic bloc called on all “to obey law and order and for the perpetrators of the violence to be identified and brought to justice, in accordance with the law.”

Similarly, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone, Babatunde Ahonsi, called for calm in the aftermath of the violent incidents in the country. In a Twitter post, he expressed the UN’s concerns about the situation, noting that “the UN calls for calm & dialogue, and stands ready to facilitate such dialogue.”


11 August 2022, 12:11