Sierra Leone Telegraph: 3 July 2022:
Sierra Leone’s democracy is under serious threat tonight, as one of the country’s leading female opposition politicians is barricaded inside her house, facing arrest by armed police, accused of inciting a group of women who are planning to stage a peaceful protest againt rising cost of living and growing poverty.
Dr Femi Claudius Cole is the Chairperson of the opposition Consortium of Progressive Political Parties (COPPP) in Sierra Leone. She is also the founder and leader of the Unity Party.
Her house was today surrounded by dozens of armed police and military personnel who arrived in trucks to arrest her without a warrant. Tonight, as the Sierra Leone Telegraph goes to press, it is understood that Dr Femi Claudius Cole has been arrested and detained at the CID headquarters, along with the chairman of the National Grand Coalition (NGC) Party – Dr Dennis Bright who went to the CID to offer support to Femi.
Both Femi Claudius Cole and Dennis Bright are no strangers to the police, given the frequency with which they have been frog-marched to the CID for questioning under bogus charge of inciting public unrest.
As Sierra Leone’s economy grinds to a halt and cost of living bites, people are becoming anxious and desperate for change.
Elections in Sierra Leone are due in June 2023, and President Bio is now using the poorly trained, trigger-happy and unprofessional police force to clamp down on the opposition, including innocent women who are planning to protest against the government.
Tonight there are demands for the international community to call on president Bio to reign in his police and army, and to sack the Inspector General of Police who is a paid-up member and grandee of the ruling SLPP party.
Writing in response to today’s police action, this is what civil rights lawyer basita Michael said:
You can watch Dr Femi Claudius Cole speaking below before her arrest: