Sierra Leone: Brutal crackdown on demonstrations against the high cost of living

As a government, we have the responsibility to protect every citizen of Sierra Leone. What happened today was unfortunate and will be fully investigated. I urge all Sierra Leoneans to be calm” – President Julius Maada Bio (10.08.2022)

In Freetown in Sierra Leone things has really sparked out of hand. The public has gone tired of inaction and lack of concern from the authorities. The public have been blocked from protesting and citizens has been arrested for doing so. Therefore, what is happening these is a further escalation from that. Youths was putting cars on fire and chanting “Maada Bio Must Go!”.

What is shown by the state is tear-gas, live-bullets and deployment of soldiers to quell the demonstrations. The demonstrations that continue to happen, as the state and it’s leadership are busy eating. A President who is often travelling and not looking into the issues of the state. That’s why the people are getting tired and feel left behind. As their woes are worsening and with no remedies in sight.

There reports of people dying in the streets, because of how the authorities cracked down on the protests today. They answered with violence and depressing means, which means innocent civilians dies over basic needs and not able to voice their grievances. That’s a state that has given up and also justifies their means by violent means.

Vice President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh has issued a State of Emergency today and also a curfew, which is currently without an end-date. It is indefinitely and is a sign on how they want to operate. The numbers of dead is reported to be about 30 in total. While there was reports of demonstrations not only in the capital of Freetown, but also in the North in the country. That’s why the VP has issued nationwide curfew and State of Emergency. This is really showing how dire things are…

We should be worried, Sierra Leone is now bleeding. It is hurting because of the rise of inflation, the corrupt elite and polarized society, which haven’t been healed. There is so much hurt and pain. The government isn’t patching up the hurt, but instead causing more damage. They are not listening to the pleas, the plights or the concerns of the citizens. It is easier to fire to bullets, than to talk and listen, apparently. That’s not a sign of leadership, but a sign of misuse of power.

The soldiers and the brutality of the state will not salvage anything. Some might be more harden and militant in their approach to the state. Instead of talking, they might answer back and then we have a vicious cycle of violence, which no one is earning on. Only more blood and tears. No joy or progress, but more heartache.

It is time for the authorities, the state and the leaders to understand why the public is demonstrating. They need to deliver and listen. That’s why they are there and they have nowhere else to go. Because, there is no other place for them to show their pain and their hurt. However, that is clearly not accepted and their suffering isn’t a priority. If it was a priority… the state wouldn’t have ordered the soldiers to quell the demonstrators. They would have instead opened up their ear-holes and tried to comprehend the message from the ones hurting. However, that’s too much to ask from these gentlemen… Peace.

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