Anti-President Maada Bio protests rock New York


Yesterday was another landmark day in the struggle  for democracy and human rights in Sierra Leone as anti-President Maada Bio protests rocked New York City . Hundreds of citizens belonging to the Concerned Sierra Leoneans For Good Governance and Human Rights  came out in full force to stage very loud, noisy and powerful demonstrations to protest the human rights abuses, bad governance and tribalism that have torn the nation apart since President Maada Bio came to power in March, this  year.

They were assisted by human rights organizations associated with the UN,  including the Secretary General of the International Human Rights Council, Mr. Malik Mohamed, who addressed the demonstrators and not only promised to take their case to the UN,  but that if President Bio does not listen , will lobby the UN Secretary General to have an interventionist mission sent to Sierra Leone.

The demonstration was held at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in front of the United Nations building while President Bio was inside addressing the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Just about 50 meters across the plaza, supporters of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) were holding a counter-demonstration , but they were outdone by the Concerned Sierra Leoneans who drowned out their voices with loud chants accusing President Bio of atrocities and completely dominated the proceedings at the Plaza.



When the President himself , led by some ministers of his government and U.S. Secret Service officials , passed by on his way to show solidarity with the SLPP demonstrators, he was roundly heckled and booed by the Concerned Sierra Leoneans who had early rejected efforts by Ambassador to the U.S, H.E.Sidiqui Wai and ministers to address them and booed them off too. President Bio was visibly moved and though he tried to prove otherwise  by waving back at the demonstrators, it was clear that he was rattled by the forceful voices, insults  and booes.

In fact, when President Bio finally got to the SLPP  wing of the plaza, he did not address his supporters as could have been normally expected. He just whispered a few words to the supporters standing in the front , before he was whisked away by the Secret Service.It is not know whether the Secret Service stopped Bio from addressing the demonstration.

Supporters of Bio and the Concerned Sierra Leoneans traded angry words across the aisle and once again the dangerous political divide in Sierra Leone was put on international stage for the world to see.

Prominent Groups and Sierra Leoneans who attended the Rally included former UN Minister Plenipotentiary, Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu, ex-Presidential Spokesman, Mr. Abdulai Bayraytay , Veteran New Jersey Community activist who is on assignment with the IHRC as High Representative to the United Nations and African Regions Ambassador Foday Mansaray and Senegalese High country Representative for IHRC Ms. Dior Fall, other Civil Society Organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Doctors without borders, MAMSALONE UNITED, New York City Human Rights Commission, African Views and Many more.
Other high profile Participants of Concerned Sierra Leonean member in attendance were Mr. Unisa Kanu, Mr Joseph Bobson kamara, Mary Faith, Mr. Sengbe Pieh, Mr. Gibril Bangura, Madam Susan Bona, Madam Salamatu Kamara, Madam Abi Bangalie  Mansaray , Madam Namina Kossay, Madam Elizabeth Thoronka, Mr. Charles Sivalie,Mrs Patricia Mnasaray, Mr.Ismael Hedd, Mr Sunday Moses, Mr Sorie Sankoh, Mr Alimamy Turay, Mr. Kebeh Turay, Mr. Abu Sesay, Mr.Abass Koroma,Mr Saiba Njai, Gibril Bangs,  and Madam Elizabeth Thoronka, Mr. Charles Sivalie of the Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP) etc.
Some neutral supporters interviewed yesterday by this media advised that President Bio renounce violence and atrocities as his silence was not helping public confidence in him that he did not support violent attacks on opponents by his supporters. They also advised the President to try and bring these attacks to a halt and stop appointing only Mendes to government ositions.

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