University students and riot police clashed in Malawi’s commercial capital Blantyre on Wednesday following a protest demanding allowances and loans.
Students at Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi are demanding allowances and students loans but the cash-strapped government has not paid them .
As the students went into the streets to stage protests, singing anti- government songs, police were deployed to break the demonstrations.
Police also entered the campus of the University and fired tear gas while chasing students.
Witnesses said some students who tried to leave the gas-filled rooms with their hands up had police chasing them back inside, sometimes beating them.
The Malawi Twitter feed said teargas was also thrown inside Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital campus.
One of the demonstrating students told Nyasa Times she was angry that allowances and student loans have not been paid by government.
The student said they cannot survive at the campus without the allowance, saying not all of them come from well doing families.
“If we survive here it’s because of that student allowance that we get. Now they are they are telling us that to be registered they will deduct our allowance, how do they want us to live? We need to pay rent where we stay because not everyone stays on campus, we also need to buy our every day meals but we have no money we depend on the allowance.”
She said Police should be concerned with the rise in robbery attacks, not protesting students.
According to secretary general for Polytechnic Students Union (PSU, Rogers Nyirongo, the demonstration was a reaction to government’s failure to provide them with fees loan and allowances.
“No one wanted to demonstrate but the students are angry with the response that the administration has given us,” he said.
Students closed part of Masauko Chipembere Highway at Ginnery Corner causing traffic chaos.
Meanwhile, Poly has been shut down following the fracas.
All students have been told to vacate the campus by Thursday 8am.
Polytechnic management says the closure is ‘until further notice’.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :