Sierra Leone lifts ban on political rallies

2011-12-13 15:48
Freetown - Police in Sierra Leone on Tuesday announced an end to a three-month ban on political rallies which was imposed after clashes between supporters of the ruling party and opposition followers.

"The public is hereby informed that the temporary ban is lifted with immediate effect," said a statement from by Inspector General of Police, Francis Munu.

The ban was imposed following a series of clashes between followers of the the ruling All People's Congress (APC) party and the main opposition Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) in parts of the southeast. A senior SLPP figure, Julius Maada Bio, was among those injured in the clashes.

Four of the west African nation's six registered political parties signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday, brokered by the police, vowing to "refrain from political violence" in the run-up to elections in November 2012.

Under the agreement, the parties all agreed to give the police at least two days written warning ahead of any march or rally.

The police in turn pledged to "provide security at all political functions before, during and after national elections", to remain impartial and to "hold to account any of its members that may act in a contrary manner".

Next year's vote comes one decade after the end of one of Africa's bloodiest civil wars (1991 - 2002) which left tens of thousands dead or maimed.

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