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People run away during an anti-government protest, in Freetown, Sierra Leone.


What We’re Watching: Uproar in Sierra Leone, falling US gas prices, Baltic states balk at China

Fracas in Freetown

Sierra Leone on Thursday declared a nationwide curfew and cut access to the internet by 95% amid deadly anti-government protests over inflation. Six cops and 21 civilians have been killed in the West African nation, where about half the population lives under the poverty line. Most Sierra Leonians are struggling to meet their basic needs due to high food and fuel prices, which have jumped 40% in recent months, mainly due to the effect of Russia’s war in Ukraine on global commodities. Such unrest is unusual in Sierra Leone, which has been relatively peaceful and politically stable since its civil war 20 years ago. More broadly, in recent weeks similar protests over the cost of living have also turned deadly across the continent in Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa. So far the demonstrations have yet to topple an African government, many of which are mired in debt and simply don’t have the cash to offer relief to their citizens. But if food and fuel prices continue to climb, so will levels of civilian desperation.

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