Sierra Leone is on the Atlantic coast of West Africa and once was filled with both the sounds and silence of running groups who took to the city streets every weekend. Now, however, the practice has ceased, all because of a ban by authorities, who cited disorderly conduct and criminal behavior.
According to The New York Times, group jogging was banned last month in an official police statement: they “‘observed with dismay’ that large numbers jog in the streets ‘with a hint of menace, raining insults, obstructing traffic, pounding on vehicles, playing loud music’ and robbing those they pass.”
It was reported that joggers and local rights groups disagree, especially as many of the shops are closed on Sundays and on weekends, the streets are mostly empty except for runners.
One runner told the paper: “How can people snatch phones and cause public unrest on a day when shops and offices are closed and the streets are empty? There is no reason to stop us from jogging.”
The ban does not affect those running in groups on beaches or in recreational areas and applies to members of the armed forces, as well. Groups must apply for police permission to run together moving forward.
For more from Sierra Leone, you can read the full article in The New York Times.