Malawi Police fire teargas at students protest in Lilongwe and Mzuzu

Malawi police fired teargas to break up a protest by university students in Mzuzu who blocked the main road leading to the northern district of Karonga in protest against failure by the administration to honour their demands for stationary allowance, witnesses said.

The incident  coincided with another protests by the university students at Polytechnic in the commercial capital Blantyre and Lilongwe Teachers Training College in the capital city Lilongwe where students were demanding upkeep allowance increment  and allowance arrears for the past three months respectively.

In Mzuzu,  students boycotted classes at Mzuzu University (Mzuni) and vowed to resume classes once they are given their allowances which they say are four months overdue.

The students burnt tires and tree branches to block the M1 road before the riot police dispersed them  with teargas canisters forcing them to retreat to the university dormitories.

Mzuni protestors  barricade road
Mzuni protestors barricade road

One of the students told Nyasa Times that the students were supposed to get MK30,000 each when the schools opened on 11th March.

“We tried to talk to the representatives of the students union but nothing came out as they kept on promising us that they should first talk to the Chancellor of the university,” said one student.

Meanwhile, student’s union leaders are reported to have locked in a meeting with the university’s administration to chart the way forward on the issue as riot police continue manning the university entrance to prevent further rioting.

In Lilongwe, police moved in quickly to prevent angry students at Lilongwe Teachers Training College from blocking the main road passing by the college’s premises in protests against allowance arrears dating back to January.

Lilongwe deputy police public relations officer Constable Salome Chibwana said the police rushed in to the scene after they got a tip that the students have blocked the road.

“We rushed there just to calm the situation and no damages caused, hence no arrests have been made”, she said.

There was no immediate comment from the police.

Anger over rising prices and other grievances have triggered smaller protests in Malawi over the year.

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