Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers on Thursday whipped protesters in Karonga after the demonstrators injured several soldiers.
The two incidents occurred during a vigil organized by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) at Karonga Roundabout.
Protesters blocked the M1 road and when soldiers who were providing security tried to help motorists pass through, the demonstrators attacked the soldiers.
Several soldiers were assaulted by the community members with some soldiers suffering cuts to the face.
During the vigils, the protesters also vandalized Chipiku stores and Simama shops.
Following the fracas, the soldiers rounded up the protesters.
A video shared on social media showed protesters lying in muddy water and the soldiers flogging them with sticks.
Police in the Northern Region have since arrested 20 people who attacked the police and soldiers during protests on Thursday.
“They were engaged in illegal demonstrations. They started attacking the police and MDF soldiers by pelting them with stones,” said Northern Region Police Spokesperson Peter Kalaya said.
On Facebook, some users noted that the soldiers beat up Democratic Progressive Party cadets during previous demonstrations but have now turned against the protesters.
“When MDF soldiers beat DPP cadets, we applauded them with ‘jombo anakonza’ and shared pictures and video clips….and now that the same they have landed on demonstrators we are crying.
“The point is we should always decry unnecessary involvement of the military in civilian affairs. So please get well soon in peace,” one Facebook user said.