Govt says HRDC should be held accountable for riots

Government has warned the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) that the organisation cannot distance itself from the riots that erupted during the post-election demonstrations on Thursday.

Minister of Communications Mark Botomani issued the warning following demonstrations which the HRDC organised.

Protesters broke into a shop in Lilongwe

In Zomba, Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu there were incidents of violence related to the demonstrations. In Mzuzu, demonstrators run riot as they set government buildings on fire, looted several offices, pelted stones at buildings and blocked roads.

Commenting on the violence, Botomani said the HRDC should be held accountable for the damage since there would have been no violence if people were not told to go to the streets.

“We are seeing these acts of violence because the HRDC called for the demonstrations so the organisation cannot distance itself from what happened,” Botomani said.

Botomani added that the police will investigate the acts of violence and arrest anyone found to have been involved.

In Lilongwe, organisers encouraged protesters to march peacefully but there were still incidents of violence with some people breaking into a Spar shop at City Centre.

One of the organisers of the demonstrations Timothy Mtambo said protesters were holding a vigil at the Parliament Building and the people who broke into the shops were not demonstrators.

The protests will continue today as the organisers are pushing for the resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission Jane Ansah over her handling of the May 21 elections.

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