Sierra Leone President blames protest on opposition leaders
President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio has blamed the deadly Protest witnessed in the country this week on opposition parties and his political rivals, accusing them of attempting to overthrow his government through a premeditated insurrection.
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Earlier in the week, a demonstration organized by women to draw the attention of the government to inflation and the rising cost of living escalated into clashes between security forces and some young men who were demanding the president’s resignation. The protest soon turned south, erupting into violence in several parts of the country, forcing the authorities to impose an internet blackout in response. Six protesters and four police officers were reportedly killed in the process, according to police and hospital sources, as the government has declared a dusk to dawn curfew.
What did the President say concerning the issue?
While addressing the nation, Maada Bio, a one-time General now turned politician, said the opposition had been stoking tension for some time.
“This was not a protest against the high cost of living occasioned by the ongoing global economic crisis,” he said, adding that the chant of the insurrectionists was for a violent overthrow of the democratically elected government.
The president specifically cited members of the All Peoples’ Congress, APC, the country’s main opposition party as well as the People’s Progressive Party, PPP as the brain behind the protest.
How did the Opposition Parties react?
The Opposition APC released its own statement shortly after the president’s address, calling for calm and adherence to the rule of law, as well as urging all stakeholders to de-escalate tension by avoiding inflammatory rhetoric or unfounded pronouncement. The party however did not respond to the allegations of the president.