19 October 2016 Last updated at: 9:13 AM
Malawi civil society condemns arrest of Mayaya over blackout march
Civil society groups in the country have condemned the arrest of the organizer of Tuesday’s blackout protests Billy Mayaya, saying his detention was unconstitutional.
Mayaya was arrested at Area 18 roundabout on Tuesday morning where the protest march against persistent blackouts and water shortages was supposed to kick off.
The police rounded up Mayaya and two others, bundled them in a police vehicle and whisked them away as other protesters were insulting the law enforcers.
However, speaking in a telephone interview with Malawi24 from Area 18 Police Headquarters, activist Dan Msowoya who is a protest organizer said Mayaya and his team followed the law to the letter before taking up to the streets and wondered why the law enforcers arrested him.
Mayaya could not be reached for comment but on Monday he said he had duly given notices of the march to Lilongwe City Council and the police who advised him to cancel the protests demonstrations because they had another assignment.
National Police headquarters spokesperson James Kadadzera said Mayaya and the two other people who were arrested together with him have been charged with holding a demonstration without consent.
Mayaya organized the demonstrations at a time Malawi is facing unprecedented blackouts with some parts of the country going 20 hours a day without electricity.