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Saturday, August 13, 2022

Dozens facing charges in connection with violent protests in Malawi

Police in Malawi said around 76 protesters are expected to appear in court on Friday to face charges of illegal gathering and inciting violence. It came after his arrest on Wednesday when protests against the high cost of living led to clashes with police and looting of shops in the capital, Lilongwe.

The conflict began when the High Court of Malawi granted an injunction to business owners who wanted to deter protesters from fearing property damage.

“So we understand that they did not agree to this and they wanted to proceed despite the injunction,” said Harry Namwaza, deputy spokesman for the Malawi Police Service. “Now, you will understand that as law enforcers where there is an injunction, we cannot allow action. It is contempt of court. So we argued with them, but it seems they did not want to listen “

Namwaza also said that the protesters started marching anyway, as a result of which the police tried to stop them.

“They started blocking the road now, they started damaging other people’s shops, pelting stones on cars and doing all kinds of damage in other areas,” he said. And we fired tear gas and during this we arrested 76 people who were carrying out the violence. ,

Those arrested included four leaders of the Human Rights Ambassador Group, which organized the demonstrations.

Some rights campaigners accused the police of using excessive force to try to stop the protests.

“Indeed, the mandate of the Malawi Police Service is to ensure that they protect the rights and property of Malawians, not to fight them,” said Sylvester Namiwa, executive director of the Center for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives. “The police should have been there.” Just to provide that much needed protection. Many such things could have been avoided. So this careless attitude is the way we handle this issue, nothing more.”

Namwaza said that tear gas is the best weapon to stop the violence.

“We have rifles, we have tear gas, and we have rubber bullets,” he said. “We assessed every situation. So people can comment in different ways but what we are saying is that we assess the situation before firing tear gas.”

Government spokesman Gospel Cazako said that as much as the government respects people’s rights to protest peacefully, it was unfortunate that the organizers of Wednesday’s protests defied a court order to halt the planned protests.

“If a court issued an injunction, I think it was very important to the people who followed these demonstrations,” he said. “You can’t be above the law, whoever you are.”

Police spokesman Namwaza said those arrested on Wednesday have been charged with inciting violence, unlawful assembly and contempt of court.

Rights campaigner Namiwa said similar nationwide demonstrations were planned for Thursday next week.

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

World Nation News Desk
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