VOX POP: Planned protest: Traders report drops in businesses

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Yusufu S. Bangura & Mohamed J. Kargbo

On Monday 11th September, there was a planned protest, in which citizens were called upon to take to the streets of Freetown and other parts of the country.

Although the protest didn’t hold as panned, but businesses were completely disrupted as people stayed home for fear of either being attacked by angry protesters or sustain bullet wounds and eventual death  from security personnel.

In this edition of Vox Pop, Concord Times’ Yusufu S. Bangura & Mohamed Kargbo on Tuesday took to the streets of Freetown to gauge the views of traders about how the planned protest affected their daily business.

Yeanoh Smart, Trader at King Jimmy

The planned protest really affected us as traders. I am a single parent and it’s only when I come to do business I will be able to take good care of my family. But on Monday, I was unable to sell due to fear and even the customers were afraid to come out and buy foodstuffs.

I was even afraid to send my kids to school on Monday as they are little kids because they might fall into any kind of danger.

I am appealing to my fellow citizens and the government for us to have peace. I believe it’s because there is no peace and unity in the country that’s why people went to protest. So, I am also calling on the government to foster peace and national  cohesion in the country for us to live a happy life as we only have one country.

Abibatu Kamara, Trader

The planned protest on Monday disrupted my business and I felt bad because this is where I get my livelihood. I have a 7-year-old child who depends on me, and she was unable to go to school because I was covered with fear so I asked her to stay at home.

I am pleading with the government to hear our cries and lower the cost of living because this was one of the main factors that ignited the protest.

Sheku Kabbie, dealer in used clothes

The faceless protest affected my business greatly because it is only when I come out to do my business that, I will be able to cater for my family. But, on Monday I was constrained to feed my children and I was even afraid to send my children to school because I can’t afford to let something bad happen to them.

My final call is for the government to know the needs of the people and know that citizens are going through tough time and should address our needs.

Mauallah Kamara, Shop Owner

As a young man doing business, Monday was not a good day for me due to the planned protest.I was unable to take care of myself because I depend on daily survival which led me to involve in my business capital.

I will end by saying that the government put several measures in place and listens to the voices of the poor masses. I am confidence that when the government tackles the rising issues in the country they can stop what happen on Monday.

Ishmael Sherriff, Shop Owner

The planned protest affected me and my business because I was unable to access transportation to come to my shop. And I was even in fear for my shop not to be damaged because my shop is at the main street. Whenever they say there is protest, our area is a hot zone as there are always heavy security personnel patrolling in the streets.

Some of us are breadwinners of our families and if businesses are disrupted it also affects us too. We have other  issues to attend to, like electricity bill, house rent, water rate and even shop rent. The landlord doesn’t want to know if made profit or not, all he need at the end is his rent. Also, business is difficult for us and the protest just worsens it.

My message to  citizens of this country is for them not to allow anyone to incite them to protest, because we will be the ones affected and those asking them to protest will not be here to lead it.

Jeneba Conteh, Trader at Congo Market

I was in fear when I heard that people will be protesting on Monday, so I decided not to come to my place of business. I suffered loss as some of my goods are perishable. On the day of the protest,  I  was not able to place food on my table, and today we have come again to do business , but yet there is fear in some of the customers  to come and buy .

But, as a citizen I am pleading with the government to have mercy on us the lame ones because we are plenty and we depend on this little business .

Florence Bull, Trader at Sander Street

I do little business to support my family and the planned protest interrupted everything on Monday as the markets were empty, no transportation and I couldn’t sell due to the protest. Even my kids didn’t go to school because I was afraid as they are my only hope, so I can’t afford to put them in harms-way.

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