The much touted non-violent countrywide demonstrations over the disputed result of last month’s presidential elections were on Thursday largely overtaken by some violent hoodlums.
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) under the banner of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) which organised the mass protests, failed to control the crowd as some unruly youth turned violent.
Thousands of protesters gathered in the capital Lilongwe, in the commercial centre Blantyre and in the third city of Mzuzu at protests that called for the chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), Jane Ansah, to resign for “running a fraudulent presidential election.”
Protestors tore down and burnt Mutharika’s campaign billboards and posters.
In Blantyre, Police fired teargas to stop the protestors from descending on MEC Headquarters in the city.
National Police Spokesperson James Kadadzera said police used teargas to stop protests from turning violent.
“We want to ensure that protests are peaceful and that there is no damage to private and public property,” he said via telephone.
Protestors in the capital Lilongwe who included opposition leaders Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and Saulos Chilima of UTM Party stormed parliament.
Police said shops had been ransacked and two police officers injured by protesters throwing rocks in Lilongwe.
“We continue to deploy police officers both on foot and vehicle patrols, in all strategic places in towns, cities and rural areas,” police said in a statement.
Police noted “sporadic incidences of violence” but did not mention arrests.
President Peter Mutharika was declared winner of the presidential election with 38.5 %.
The election was marred by allegations of fraud, including that many results sheets were altered using white correction fluid called Tippex.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :