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Sierra Leone: Dozens Killed in Cost of Living Protests

Facts

  • At least 21 civilians and several police officers were reportedly killed during anti-government protests in Sierra Leone's northern heartland and capital, Freetown, on Wednesday. The protests saw hundreds take to the streets in response to economic hardship and rising prices.[1]
  • Social media video footage has shown burning tires and protesters throwing rocks in the smoke-filled streets of Freetown. The violence led to a government-imposed curfew beginning at 3 pm Wednesday.[2]

Sources

Spin

Pro-establishment narrative

Violence isn't the solution to Sierra Leone's problems. Though the significant economic gains made under Pres. Julia Maada have been threatened by multiple global shocks, including the pandemic and war in Ukraine, the government, in coordination with other states and international NGOs, has worked hard to develop economic assistance programs aimed at strengthening the economy. The nation is on the path to recovery again.

Establishment-critical narrative

Maada's presidency has been marked by corruption, human rights abuses, poor leadership, and now an acute economic crisis. The people of Sierra Leone are justifiably angry, but the demonstrations were peaceful until police tried to impede their rights to protest. Those responsible for what descended into deadly violence must be held to account and Maada must resign.

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