The protests grew violent at times. Graphic images and video of battered and seriously injured protesters and some members of security forces can be seen on social media. Security forces were seen firing at citizens.
CNN has verified the videos were filmed in Sierra Leone at various times on Wednesday.
Vice President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh announced a nationwide curfew on Wednesday from 3 p.m. local time 11 a.m. President Julius Maada Bio is out of the country.
CNN hasn't been able to verify the number of people injured or killed in the protests. Jalloh referred to the protesters and the loss of lives during a televised speech announcing the curfew, but did not give any more details.
These unreliable individuals have embarked on a violent and unauthorized protest that has resulted in the deaths of innocent Sierra Leoneans, including security personnel, the Vice President said. In a tweet, the US Embassy in Freetown appealed for calm and restraint on all sides. Morris Marah, an entrepreneur from Freetown, told CNN that the protests had been brewing for a few days. Since August 8th there have been fledgling groups gathering but it has got worse today and it has escalated. There were clashes with police on both sides and there was violence on both sides. Marah told CNN in a phone call from Freetown that some people lost their lives but I don't know the count. The country's economic situation is really bad, and the government says it is due to Ukraine and coronaviruses crisis, but to date youth unemployment is very high. There are a lot of disgruntled young people in the country, he continued. There was a big spike in fuel prices, products and commodities recently. The President says he doesn't have quick fixes, but as an entrepreneur, things were hard before Ukraine and the coronaviruses crisis. The protests are not supported by everyone in the country. No matter how hard things are. Marah said that this is not the right way to go about it. One witness said that the protests started this morning but have been on the table since last week, and that they asked not to be named for fear of reprisals from the government. People are protesting against inflation, hyperinflation and the cost of living. He said that the police are too aggressive when handling issues, and came to the point where the people's backs were against the wall. Internet monitor NetBlocks reported that the country was experiencing a nationwide disruption to internet service from several providers. The SierraLeone is in the midst of a near-total internet shutdown due to anti-government protests in Freetown, and metrics indicate national connectivity at 5% of ordinary levels, NetBlocks said in a tweet.