Teargas, skirmishes characterize Lilongwe demonstrations against high cost living

Police in Lilongwe on Friday fired teargas in attempts to “divert the route” of scores of protestors who took to the streets in protest against rising cost of living, nepotism and corruption under the Tonse Alliance government.

The police action led to protracted running battles between the protesters and law enforcers.

Thousands of people had come out in response to the call to demonstrate against the high cost of living in the country.

Earlier, just before the demonstrations began from Lilongwe Community Ground, main organizer, comedian and politician Bon Kalindo, told the
cheering protesters that “he is ready to die for Malawians.”


He also appealed for peaceful demonstrations.

Before Kalindo arrived, tension had already been building up at the community ground as armed police officers formed a cordon near the place to block the protestors.

As the demonstrators began their journey to submit a petition at the office of the District Commissioner (DC), the police blocked them from using the main town road and fired the first dose of teargas, which sent the protestors running and spreading into the nearby low density area of Mchesi.

They later regrouped and took a new route, passing through Mchesi and along Kamuzu Central Hospital in order to connect to town from the roundabout near the hospital. All the while, the police had been stalking the protestors and firing teargas.

Near the roundabout, the demonstrators burnt car tyres in anger at the police, setting the area around Kamuzu Central Hospital into thick smoke.

Then the police fired more teargas, pushing the protesters to Chilambula highway roundabout, where they regrouped again and proceeded to the DC’s office using the highway.

Submitting the petition, Kalindo expressed dismay at the conduct of the police, saying they will proceed to Area 30, the police’s headquarters, to demand explanation on why they tried to stop people from demonstrating.

He said they have given the government 14 days to act on people’s grievances on the high cost of living, adding that, if this fails, there will be more demonstrations in the country.

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