The central business center and most major streets of Sierra Leone’s fifth largest city, Makeni were empty on Monday, September 11, 2023, as a group of citizens planned nationwide protests.

Reporters visiting various locations on Monday found shops and business centers largely shut down.

The usually bustling streets of Makeni, particularly with commercial bike riders, were notably quiet. Heavy police and security force presence were evident at key locations.

News about the September 11th protest across the country has for the past weeks been widely circulated across social media.

Though the State Security and authorities say those behind the said protest and the reason (s) for the protest remain unclear, the messages surfacing on social media indicated that the current economic crisis in the country continues to bite on the ordinary man and for the people behind what authorities say is the illegal protest, taking to the street is called on the government do something that will bring change.

The outcome of the country’s last election, injustice, and political intimation were also among the reasons protesters say are behind their intended action.

However, the Sierra Leone Police has issued a press release referring to the protest as illegal, warning all to refrain from it, and also stating the consequences that might befall defaulters.

Though many accused the main opposition and its agents of being behind the protest, the All People’s Congress has denied having anything to do with the illegal protest as called by the Police and warned its membership to refrain from the said protest.

Sierra Leone has witnessed a plethora of protests and demonstrations since President Julius Maada Bio took over the reins of power. In all of those incidents, the ruling party will always accuse the main opposition of fermenting problems to destabilize the State.

In August last year, dozens of compatriots including civilians and members of the security forces were killed after a bloody protest erupted in the West African nation.

The main opposition blamed the government for the protests because it did not provide the basic and social amenities for the people, especially the poor youths who were mostly seen in the streets during the protest.