Eight police officers were killed during violent anti-government protests in Sierra Leone on Wednesday,

The officers, six men and two women, were “brutalized” and killed in the area where the protests held on Wednesday, youth minister Mohamed Orman Bangura said.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of the capital Freetown on Wednesday, protesting inflation and the rising cost of living in the West African country.

The protests grew violent at times. Graphic images and video of battered and seriously injured protesters and some members of security forces could be seen on social media. Security forces were also seen firing guns at citizens.

Bangura said he could not immediately confirm the number of civilians killed or injured in the violent demonstrations.

“We are yet to know how many people were injured, but I can confirm that eight police officers were killed.”

Vice President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh imposed a curfew Wednesday to quell the protests.

Youth minister Bangura described the protests as an “act of terrorism.”

“Those are not protesters. There’s a difference between protest and riot and acts of terrorism. Protesting is different from acting as a terrorist…going against the state, killing young police

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