Protesters riot

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Demonstrators in Lilongwe set fire to vehicles, looted shops and engaged in battles with the police as post-election protests descended into chaos.

Protesters in the morning gathered at Simama Hotel with plans to march to Capital Hill   but violence started when police fired teargas at the group in a bid to disperse them.

Some people took advantage of the chaos to loot shops which are near Bwaila Hospital in the city. Police responded by firing teargas and the smoke affected a ward for preterm babies at the hospital.

Babies and their mothers were evacuated and told to wait in in the hospital’s corridor as the smoke cleared.

Protesters also ransacked Airtel offices and pelted stones at several buildings in Lilongwe old Town, including a First Capital Bank Branch.

Earlier in the day, the protesters set on fire a police armoured vehicle after police officers who were in vehicle fled when one of the officers launched a teargas canisters right in the car.

A vehicle belonging to a police officer and two other vehicles parked at Lilongwe Girls Secondary school were also set ablaze.

A similar fate befell a police officer’s house where household property was damaged in the fire.

Violent acts were also recorded in Blantyre and Mzuzu where demonstrations were taking place.

Speaking on the acts of violence, chairperson of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition, which organised the demonstrations, Timothy Mtambo blamed the police saying the law enforcers caused the violence by firing tear gas on the protesters.

Demonstrators are demanding the resignation Malawi Electoral Commission chairperson Jane Ansah who is accused of mismanaging the May 21 elections.

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One Comment

  1. When and if the Malawi Police Force decide to learn to work in co-operation with the majority of the protestors as opposed to working against the protesters, the minority criminal element could easily be exposed and effectively stifled out and dealt with. (Like the heroic Rumphi Police contingent did recently).Unfortunately our poorly trained Police force are still living in the past where they existed and saw themselves as a ‘force’ to be ‘feared’ by the public. Times have changed! The sooner this change is embraced and appropriate training given to improve public relations, the perception that the Police is public enemy number one will in the general public’s eye will continue and in turn make the duties of the police officer extremely difficult in the modern day. The blame should be shouldered all our previous and current government who have focused more on enriching the politicians other than empowering these vital national security organs. The DPP government is frantically engaged in suspicious promotion and redeployment strategies in the MDF with the aim of countering the amazing professionalism that is very conspicuous at the MDF. These tactics will backfire!