A nationwide curfew has been declared in Sierra Leone, following massive protests in parts of Freetown and other areas in the Northern part of the country.
Two police officers were killed Wednesday when protesters descended into clashes between security forces and youth demanding the president resign, because of “economic hardship”.
Dozens of protestors had been arrested, police said.
A health worker at a hospital in Freetown said dozens of people had been injured.
In the Kissy neighbourhood in the east end of the city, demonstrators threw rocks and sticks at security forces, who fired tear gas in their direction, an AFP reporter saw.
Several protestors told AFP the security forces had also fired live bullets.
Protestors were heard chanting “Bio must go”, referring to President Julius Maada Bio, who is currently in the United Kingdom on a private visit.
The internet was temporarily blocked in Freetown on Wednesday afternoon, according to NetBlocks, a web monitoring group.
⚠️ Confirmed: Real-time network data show that #SierraLeone is in the midst of a near-total internet shutdown amid anti-government protests in #Freetown; metrics indicate national connectivity at 5% of ordinary levels; incident ongoing 📵
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) August 10, 2022
Demonstrations were also held in the city of Makeni and the town of Magburuka in the country’s Northern Province.
A press release dated the 6th August 2022, from the security sector says they monitored inciting social media messages calling for public demonstrations, but no group requested permission to hold such demonstrations cautioning against any planned demonstration calling on citizens to go about their normal business.
In his address to the nation, the Vice President says there have been attempts to overthrow the legitimate government of President Julius Maada Bio by some ‘Self Serving Sierra Leoneans.’
“Government reaffirms its commitment to maintaining law and order including protecting the fundamental rights of the general public. The security sector has been authorised to fully enforce this directive” says Vice President Jalloh.