Sierra Leone, 2007


Wheelchair and Tear Gas
Sierra Leone
September, 2007
Photo by Katrina Manson, then of Reuters

Going through pictures on computer. At one point, saving various pictures that caught one’s attention. Like this one. The tear gas approaching, and nowhere to move. Did not record photographer. Then found the photo, and wanted to find the story. It is “Koroma wins Sierra Leone election, takes office” a Reuters story, September 17, 2007, by Katrina Manson and Christo Johnson. Turns out the picture is of riot police using tear gas to address looting by opposition supporters, following an opposition victory:

Opposition leader Ernest Bai Koroma was sworn in as Sierra Leone’s president on Monday after winning polls marked by violence and some fraud, prompting celebrations and looting in which at least one man was killed.

The 53-year-old former insurance executive, who came second in a 2002 poll, took his oath before the chief justice at State House in the war-scarred West African state’s capital Freetown.

The National Electoral Commission (NEC) earlier declared the All People’s Congress (APC) candidate the winner of the September 8 poll, despite a threat by the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) to challenge the result in court.

…Cheering APC supporters wearing the party’s red colors blew whistles, honked car horns and danced in Freetown’s streets.

But some hurled stones and bottles at the SLPP headquarters, smashing windows and eventually breaking in to carry off chairs and office equipment, and police fired teargas at the crowds.

Later a Reuters reporter saw a man lying dead outside.

…The polls were the first since U.N. peacekeepers left two years ago, and many Sierra Leoneans hoped the election would help erase the bitter memories and divisions of a civil war fuelled by corruption and financed by illegal “blood diamonds“.

And with one particular election memory…

About brucelarochelle
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