By Amadu Ibrahim Mansaray
Port Loko, SIERRA LEONE – On Monday, August 11th, 2023, Port Loko City experienced a disruption in normalcy as a planned protest took centre stage, leading to the closure of most businesses. Only a handful of schools and banks remained open.
The unease caused by the impending protest began to grip the Northwestern capital as early as 7 a.m. On this day, the streets were noticeably devoid of the usual hustle and bustle. Commercial bikes and cars were conspicuously absent.
Around 9 a.m., a gathering of youths, children, and some elderly individuals congregated at the city’s central area, near the clock tower. They clutched placards and chanted slogans such as “The fuel price must go down, things are hard, we want peace.” Despite cautions from security personnel, the protesters remained steadfast, and the demonstration continued.
Most markets and shops shuttered their doors, leading to crowded streets filled with demonstrators. The security presence was palpable, with personnel scattered throughout the city as the protesters carried out their activities.
Remarkably, the protest remained peaceful, with no reported arrests, property damage, or injuries.
While protesters and security personnel crisscrossed the Northwestern capital of Sierra Leone, key institutions such as the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank and the Ernest Bai Koroma University of Science and Technology, Port Loko Campus, continued to operate as usual.
The protest persisted until 4 p.m., when a majority of the demonstrators began to tire. Gradually, they dispersed, allowing the city to return to a semblance of normalcy. AIM/12/9/2023