In Sierra Leone: Crises, protests, bloodshed, and a curfew

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Pictures posted to social media depict a deceased senior police officer in a pool of blood. After nationwide protests on Wednesday in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, he was the latest officer to pass away, joining a long list of others who also lost their lives.


The massive sit-down strike that Sierra Leoneans began on Monday, August 8, 2022, earned the name "August 8th" and marked the beginning of the protests.


Local media reported that the strike was brought on by the market's skyrocketing commodity prices and a slew of other social and economic issues.


The protest, which began as a normal sit-down strike, turned violent and rowdy when it came to confrontations with security personnel.


Real gun A police officer is seen pointing a gun at unknown protestors in this amateur video taken from Aljazeera officers patrolling the streets. Credit: According to Reuters, protesters and police are engaged in what appears to be a street fight. Numerous protesters have perished. At this time, the number of fatalities is unknown.


A special television discussion program on the state-run Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) was held by the Strategic Communications Unit of the Ministry of Communications in response to the national outcry, during which a nationwide curfew was announced.


From August 10, 2022, to August 11, 2022, the curfew was to be in effect from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. every day, with the exception of essential employees at hospitals, hotels, radio and television stations, telecommunications companies, Electricity Generation and Transmission Company (EGTC), and Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) who are permitted to move around with valid identification during the curfew period.


Gabriel Tommy, the police chief in Sierra Leone's Northern Region, stated that the curfew would continue indefinitely. Makeni, Magburaka, and Kamakwei, all in the province, were the first to implement a curfew.


Threats of fire have been made against a number of government buildings.


One such endangered infrastructure that is on the verge of being demolished is the Youyi building in the center of Freetown, which houses up to ten government ministries and departments.


Protesters all over the country continue to convey the same message: President Julius Maada Bio must resign.


In response to a BBC interview, the Minister of Information and Communications, Mohamed Rahman Swarray, stated that "the Military Aid to Civil Power (MACP) has been fully enforced." The army is working to restore order and is visible present. This uprising is being orchestrated by self-seeking politicians who are taking advantage of the youth joblessness.


Reuters in Sierra Leone A protester responds to the security forces' use of tear gas. Credit: Reuters An anonymous journalist in Freetown told The Fourth Estate that their coverage of the protests put some employees of the state-run Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation in danger of losing their lives. Those reports, according to some protesters, are erroneous, pro-government, and skewed.


He claims that the SLBC's cameraman was assaulted, and another veteran broadcaster, Daniel Moseray, was pursued. The process resulted in the damage of one of the company's automobiles.


On Wednesday, August 10, 2022, the country's government shut down internet access in the hopes of preventing citizens in Sierra Leone from communicating with the outside world. However, the move had little effect. All networks were fully restored a few hours later, but the protests are becoming more violent and destructive.


Fires have already broken out at a number of police stations across the nation.


Background: A government official has accused a citizen-journalist from Sierra Leone who lives in Holland of starting the protests. He is known for making monologue series on social media about problems in the country's society. It has been alleged that he did so using incendiary recordings.


On national television, Alpha Kanu, the country's presidential spokesperson, made an indirect reference to the activist as an "intellectual miscreant."


A month ago, hundreds of market women in Freetown staged peaceful protests against what they saw as poor economic policies implemented by the government. They argued that these policies were wreaking havoc on both the economy and their standard of living. Many of them were detained as a result, including Femi Claudius-Cole, a well-known opposition politician who was later freed after spending nearly a week in custody.


The Leones, the currency of Sierra Leone, were reminted and introduced in July 2022, but no one has noticed the change.


The country's level of discontent is rising as a result of youth unemployment and despair.


People in Sierra Leone are desperate for economic and political change. The country is currently experiencing a wave of protests as a result of hardship, and how they will ultimately end is largely unknown.


Many people are concerned that the current circumstance, if it is not handled appropriately, could plunge into yet another disaster after two decades of ending one of the worst civil wars in Africa, the effects of which have not yet been fully remedied.

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