Sierra Leone President Accuses Protesters of Rebellion
The Sierra Leone’s president, Julius Bio, has accused protesters of rebellion.
Mr. Bio said anti-government protests, which led to the deaths of six police officers and at least 21 civilians, were an attempt to overthrow the government.
Report says police officers used tear gas and in some cases guns to disperse large crowds of protesters throwing rocks and burning tyres in the capital Freetown and several towns.
In an address to the nation, Mr. Bio said “This was not a protest against the high cost of living occasioned by the ongoing global economic crisis,
“The chant of the insurrectionists was for a violent overthrow of the democratically elected government,” he said, adding that the government would investigate all the deaths.
According to several residents, they said they were driven by frustration with the worsening economic situation and a perceived failure by the government to cushion the impact of rising prices.
In east Freetown, a 42-year-old driver, Solomon Forna said “Look at the way the price of fuel goes up. The price of rice is always going up. We can’t live the way we did only a few years ago.”
He said he heard some noise in his neighbourhood on Wednesday and joined in with the crowds, shouting that Maada Bio must go, until the police came.
According to the World Bank, Inflation rose to nearly 28% in June, piling extra pressure on the majority of Sierra Leone’s population of 8 million who live below the poverty line.
However, countries around the world are seeing protests over economic hardship, as the aftermath of the pandemic and the knock-on effects of Russia’s war in Ukraine which combined to push prices of energy, commodities, and basic items higher.