As of 11 August 2022, a nationwide nightly curfew from 1900-0700 local time/UTC is in effect in Sierra Leone, following violent anti-government protests the previous day. At least six police officers and 13 civilians were reportedly killed in the violence. Vice President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh imposed the nationwide curfew on 10 August in an effort to quell the protests and associated violence in the capital Freetown. In the city’s eastern Wellington area, protesters burned tires and debris in the streets and engaged in clashes with police officers. Meanwhile, demonstrators obstructed traffic and marched on Blackhall Road calling for the resignation of President Julius Maada Bio due to worsening economic conditions in the country. There is a heavy security presence in Freetown, as authorities have deployed additional security personnel throughout the city. Internet connectivity was severely restricted throughout Freetown for most of the day in an attempt to slow down coordination of the quickly spreading protests. Associated protests also occurred in other cities in the country, including Makeni.
Despite the nationwide curfew and government officials’ pleas for calm, protesters defied the curfew order and remained in the streets of Freetown. Police officers fired live ammunition into the air in an attempt to restore order, and several reports allege that police officers fired live ammunition at protesters.
Analyst Comment: Protests, strikes and other acts of civil disobedience are likely to continue in the near-term due to general dissatisfaction with the rising cost of living and the government’s inability to quickly address the situation. Additional anti-riot initiatives — including internet restrictions and the implementation of a state of emergency — are possible if more residents join the largely unorganized youth-led demonstrations