Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers who have been previously praised for beating up cadets on Thursday formed a human wall to stop demonstrators from going to State House.
During previous post-election demonstrations, the soldiers were hailed for beating suspected Democratic Progressive (DPP) cadets who were assaulting protesters.
MDF soldiers were also seen stopping police officers from firing teargas at demonstrators.
For Thursday’s demonstrations, protesters in Lilongwe were allowed by the courts to march to Kamuzu Palace as long as they stayed 100 metres from the presidential residence.
However, they were blocked by MDF soldiers who formed a human barricade at City Centre in the middle of a road which leads to the palace.
The demonstrators were forced to present their petition near Four Seasons Hotel.
Human Rights Defenders Coalition Chairperson Timothy Mtambo presented the petition to the Presidential Adviser on Civil Society Organisations Mabvuto Bamusi who promised to deliver it to the office of the president.
In Blantyre, MDF soldiers also stopped protesters from going to Sanjika Palace.
The protesters want Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah to resign following the disputed May 21 elections in which President Peter Mutharika was declared winner.