Organisers of the anti-Jane Ansah peaceful protests, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) have snubbed the police chief and the ruling party over the demonstrations, saying they are still on come Tuesday despite insecurity threats.
HRDC executive member Luke Tembo said on Saturday the protesters have a right to protest as enshrined in the Republican Constitution.
“It is the duty of the police to protect the demonstrators, it is the duty of the police to protect property,” said Tembo.
Tembo’s comments came after the police Inspector General Rodney Jose wrote HRDC on Friday to stop convening the protests, saying both the rights body and the police have failed to ensure violence free demonstrations.
Tembo said the Republican constitution overrides the police Act clauses Jose had quoted as legal defense for his decision to halt the protests.
In a letter dated July 26, 2019 to Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), Jose also says the rights activists have as well failed to hold peaceful demonstrations.
“In view of the above, the Malawi Police Service, in exercise of its powers under section 105(1) of the police Act, demands that HRDC should forthwith stop convening demonstrations until such a time when it would be possible to convene and hold demonstrations. You are also required to convey this demand to members of the HRDC at all levels,” says Jose in the letter.
The letter says the HRDC sanctioned protests have been convened as peaceful; however, in all cases, Jose says, they have turned to be violent and have resulted injury to persons, extensive damage to property and looting.
“As you are aware, police officers have been attacked during these demonstrations making it extremely difficult for them to provide security to persons and property,” says the letter in part.
The police chief says the situation has been deteriorating with each new demonstration that HRDC convenes.
“It is thus evident that your organization is no longer able to convene peaceful demonstrations. On our part, we are unable to provide adequate protection for the people participating in these demonstrations and those affected by the same due to, among others, the hostile attitude of demonstrators towards police officers and criminal elements that have hijacked the said demonstrations,” says Jose in the letter addressed to HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :