…as ruling party supporters violate emergency regulations
March 31, 2015 By Mohamed Massaquoi
Despite a ban on public gathering and demonstration across Sierra Leone, a large group of women on Thursday, 25March were seen openly demonstrating along St. John roundabout and Sanda Street, West of Freetown, in support of President Ernest Bai Koroma, according to reports.
According to an eyewitness, Hassan Kamara, the women lined up along the street with brooms in their hands condemning any planned demonstration against the decision of President Koroma to relieve Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana from office.
The latter has since filed an originating summons at the Supreme Court, contesting the decision and asking to be granted remedies, including that the decision is “unconstitutional, null and void”.
He said while the entourage of the President was en route to State House that day, the women were singing and dancing with their brooms held high saying: “We are not striking but we want Ernest.”
Head of Police Media Unit, Inspector Ibrahim Samura, said he was unaware of the development and hence refused to make any official comment on the matter.
Dauda Musa Bangura, a ruling party activist, who posted video and photos of the scene on social media, said in an interview with this medium that the women were expressing their views about the current situation in the country.
“Yes I posted the video on social media,” Bangura confirmed to this reporter. “It was exactly on Thursday when the women lined up the streets to express themselves.”
Inspector General of Police Francis Munu has in a recent press release warned that organisations, campaigners, associations or clubs holding gatherings and meetings without due approval from the Sierra Leone Police would face the full penalty of the law, citing Section 46 of 1965 Public Order Act and the Public Emergency Regulations of 2014.
“Persons who may fall victim of such ill-motivated plans would have themselves to blame. Police headquarters wishes to inform all law abiding citizens that any meeting consisting of ten or more persons should have the permission of the police at least 48 hours to the holding of such meeting,” IG Munu stated.
His statement came in the wake of calls by the main opposition to demonstrate against what they say was a violation of the constitution by President Koroma, for sacking his vice and replacing him with Ambassador Victor Foh.
Some civil society groups have also indicated they would vent their disapproval over the constitutional impasse by way of a protest.
Sierra Leoneans in both the United States and United Kingdom demonstrated against the unpopular decision in Washington D.C and London, respectively, over the weekend.
Meanwhile, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists has urged government in a press release last week to lift the state of public emergency regulations on the grounds that it is no longer in the interest of fighting Ebola.