Freetown – Two police officers were killed on Wednesday in Sierra Leone after a protest against “economic hardship” descended into clashes between security forces and youth demanding the president resign, the police said.
“Two police officers, a male and female, were mobbed to death by protesters at the east end of Freetown this morning,” police spokesperson Brima Kamara told AFP.
Vice President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh announced a nationwide curfew and said “innocent Sierra Leoneans including some security personnel” had been killed.
Dozens of protestors had been arrested, police said.
A health worker at a hospital in Freetown said dozens of people had been injured.
1. Sierra Leone’s army has been put on the streets to push back against demonstrations.
The Government has imposed a nationwide curfew amid deadly anti-government protests.
The protests have been triggered by rising inflation, a fuel crisis and an unprofessional Justice system. pic.twitter.com/CahnPxzyIm
— Hopewell Chin’ono (@daddyhope) August 10, 2022
In the Kissy neighbourhood in the east of the capital, demonstrators threw rocks and sticks at security forces, who fired tear gas towards the demonstrators, an AFP reporter saw.
Several protestors told AFP the security forces had also fired live bullets.
Demonstrators 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.
Demonstrations were also held in the city of Makeni and the town of Magburuka in the country’s Northern Province.
The Grassroots Women of Sierra Leone, a group of market traders, had called a “peaceful assembly” to “draw attention to the economic hardship and many issues that affect the women of Sierra Leone”, according a letter to the inspector general of the police seen by AFP.