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Sierra Leone lifts curfew after deadly anti-government protests

Police in Sierra Leone's capital Freetown lifted a curfew imposed last Wednesday after anti-government protests left 16 civilians dead.

The government imposed a nationwide curfew after protests erupted against the rising cost of living in the country. At least 16 civilians were killed and many more injured in the capital Freetown and the city of Makeni in central Sierra Leone. At least six police officers were killed, according to a statement released by Police inspector general. William Fayia Sellu. 

Demonstrators demanded the departure of President Julius Maada Bio, who was elected in 2018 and still has 10 months left in his term. They chanted “Bio must go” as they made their way through the capital, Freetown.

Long-standing frustration with the government in some quarters has been exacerbated by rising prices for basic goods in the West African country, where more than half of its population of around eight million live below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.

Inflation in Sierra Leone reached 28% in June, up from 25% in May. Last month, the central bank removed three zeros from bank notes, hoping to restore confidence in the currency. Protests erupted Wednesday after weeks of frustration over rising food and fertilizer prices and a recent crackdown on dissent.

in a televised address on Friday, President Julius Maada Bio blamed the opposition for instigating the violence. 

“This was not a protest against the high cost of living occasioned by the ongoing global economic crisis,” Maada Bio said. “The chant of the insurrectionists was for a violent overthrow of the democratically-elected government.”

Read more at Bloomberg and Al Jazeera


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