SLPP Government Curtails Rights of The People of Freetown
A frightening pattern is emerging with this controversially elected SLPP government. Since its controversial win of the elections results, the SLPP knowing how unpopular it is curtailing the rights of people to assemble even for the smallest event, especially so in Freetown. After a controversial Presidential Proclamation reopening parliament, the Government deliberately prevented the people of Freetown from going to parliament for that session through the intimidatory presence of armed personnel. Those Freetown residents who witnessed the process were brutalized. Also brutalized were APC members of parliament who were violently thrown out of the well of parliament by armed officers, the first time this ever happened in Sierra Leone.
In relation to the court actions against APC MPs, the SLPP government violently prevented Freetown citizens from witnessing the proceedings. The presiding judges even prevented lawyers for petitioned MPs from representing their clients.
During Independence Day celebrations on April 27, the SLPP refused Freetown residents their rights to culturally celebrate the anniversary whilst other towns including Bo were allowed to celebrate where the controversial President was in attendance.
A cleaning exercise was slammed on Freetown residents last Saturday, with movement restrictions in contravention of the laws of the land which allows such mass restrictions on movement only in cases of a State of Emergency. The SLPP not only violated this but they also disorderly extended the period in which residents of Freetown were prevented from moving around their city. Thousands of events by Freetown residents, including weddings and other social and cultural events had to be cancelled, with huge economic and psychological costs to the people.
During the Formal Opening of Parliament by the Controversially Elected President, Freetown residents were for the first time prevented from going into the precincts of parliament to show support for their MPs. Armed officers were intimidatingly all over the place, and the few available invitations were selectively dished out to SLPP supporters.
This pattern of restricting the rights of Freetown residents and constant intimidation is growing. The presidential motorcade moves along Freetown’s streets like it is in enemy territory, complete with very visible weapons of destruction. A new phenomenon called ‘traffic arrest’ by residents is emerging, further restricting the rights of the citizens of the city.
A frightening development has also been situations of Freetown born and bred persons losing their jobs or being transferred.
It must be noted that these violations of the rights of Freetown residents started on the very night of the controversial SLPP victory when terror was rained on thousands of Freetown residents including beatings, stabbings, invasion of private homes and destruction of property including stalls of market women by vigilantes some of who later went on to chase people out of their private cars, or officially assigned cars. The level of intimidation and violations have since escalated, leading to situations seen in Freetown only during the last days of the NPRC Junta in 1996.
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