Businesses disrupted, 3 confirmed dead By Abubakarr Tarawally

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Deserted shops in the Central Business District

The heavy presence of armed police and military personnel yesterday sent a strong warning that nobody should take to the street to protest, but there were some pockets of protest in the Eastern part of Freetown where three people were confirmed  killed  allegedly by security personnel.

While rumours on social media have indicated that Sierra Leoneans would take to the streets on Monday to protest the harsh economic realities in the country, the capital city was yesterday calm albeit   businesses were completely disrupted.

Shops in the central business district were closed for the rest of the day and several private offices couldn’t operate as a result of fear of being attacked by angry protesters.

Commercial vehicles were few in the street, making it difficult for employers to report for work.

Parents didn’t allow their children to go to school despite calls by the government for schools to go on as normal.

Prior to Monday, government, through the Chief Minister, issued out strong waring that all civil servants must report for work and failure to do so will attract some disciplinary measures.

In several schools, a few of the teachers reported for work, but there were no kids to teach.

In the Eastern part of Freetown, there was heavy presence of armed police officers and military personnel and that development must have prevented people from coming out to protest as planned.

With the August 10 protest in which dozens of civilians and police officer were killed, still fresh on the minds of Sierra Leoneans, military men heavily armed mount check point along major areas across Freetown as a way of preventing similar occurrence.

In the morning hours about 9 to 10am, some government officials including the Chief Minister, David Sengeh, were in the Eastern part of Freetown where they met with some youth and pacified them not to involve in any form of protest.

Earlier, police had noted that nobody had applied for permission to protest as per law required and that anybody caught protesting would be arrested and charged to court for illegal protest and other misdemeanors.

Recently, the pump prices of petroleum products were increased and that affected the prices of other basic commodities in the market. Government has also announced series of tax increment on energy and mobile money services, coupled with water companies craving to increase the prices of sachet water.

Meanwhile, the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) had disassociated itself from the protest and called on its supporters to abstain from any form of violence. But the faceless Peoples Power in Politics (PPP) are said to be masterminds of the planned protest

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