LAGOS , Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA)- Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Freetown, Sierra Leone, on Wednesday, protesting inflation and the rising cost of living in the country
The protests grew violent at times. Graphic images and video of battered and seriously injured protesters and some members of security forces could be seen on social media. Security forces were also seen firing guns at citizens.
Vice President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh declared a nationwide curfew on Wednesday from 3 p.m. local time (11 a.m. ET) while President Julius Maada Bio is out of the country.
“These unscrupulous individuals have embarked on violent and unauthorized protests which has led to the loss of lives of innocent Sierra Leoneans, including security personnel,” the Vice President said.
“There have been fledgling groups gathering since 8th of August but it escalated and got much worse today. More people joined in huge numbers and there were clashes with police and there was violence on both sides. Some people lost their lives but I don’t know the count,” Marah told CNN in a phone call from Freetown.
“The economic situation in the country is really bad, the government says it is due to Ukraine and coronavirus crisis but to date youth unemployment is very high. There are a lot of disgruntled young people in the country,” he continued. “There was recently a big spike in fuel prices, products and commodities. The President says he doesn’t have quick fixes but, as an entrepreneur, things were hard before Ukraine and the coronavirus crisis.”
“This protests are not supported by everyone in the country. No matter how hard things are. This is not the right way to go about it,” Marah added.
One witness, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals from the government, said: “The protests started this morning but have been brewing since last week.”