By Malawi Freedom Network
The 1 Million March Anti- Jane Ansah Demos Breed Violence In Malawi’s Capital Lilongwe
At the word go and even before it all started, on the morning of August 6, the mother of all street demonstrations in Lilongwe City went out of hand, as police and protesters ended up in running battles, and in the process, attracting violence, which chorused with torching of police and government vehicles and also police houses.
It all started when the protesters who converged at the demonstration starting point of Lilongwe Community ground tried to chase police officers who came near them. In reaction, the police officers started throwing teargas at the protesters until the situation went out of control.
Shortly afterwards, the protesters torched a police armoured vehicle before they set ablaze a house belonging to a police officer located adjacent to Simama Hotel.
There are also reports of torching two government vehicles that were parked for safety at Likuni Girls Secondary School.
In another ugly scenario, the protesters spotted a female police officer in plain clothes who was assigned to manage undercover activities and was suspected to have been sent to take pictures of people who were leading in decision making during the street protests. In turn, angry protesters manhandled her, beat and stripped her half naked.
Other ugly scenes of violence and looting were reported later in the day when when CFAO, Movesa and other commercial shops were looted.
In a sharp contrast and rather surprising this time around, unlike in the previous demonstrations, the protesters in the northern city of Mzuzu were conducted in a peaceful manner.
Also from the beginning to the end, the protesters in Blantyre have conducted themselves peacefully.
However in Blantyre, the Malawi Defense Force (MDF) blocked the protesters from proceeding to the commercial hub of Limbe town to which they wanted to extend their protest.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) leadership through Timothy Mtambo has described the Tuesday demonstrations as satisfactory but blamed the police for provoking protesters through teargassing them, a thing they say could have been avoided.
Mtambo has therefore suggested the police should take the whole blame for the violence registered in Lilongwe and has said “the police should pay for the damage”.
The HRDC leadership has since applauded the MDF for their professionalism in protecting the protesters.
Notably in Blantyre, politicians from the opposition parties like UTM President, Saulos Chilima, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Vice President Sidik Mia were spotted supporting the anti-Jane Ansah protests on the streets.
While the planned protests have meanwhile come to an end in Blantyre and Mzuzu, the protesters in Lilongwe have converged outside parliament for a vigil before the demos enter it’s second day.