Police in Lilongwe, Tuesday arrested activist Billy Mayaya for allegedly conducting demonstrations on the persistent electricity blackouts without consent from city authorities.
However, Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) demanded that Mayaya be released unconditionally.
According to National Police Spokesperson, James Kadadzera, the police arrested Mayaya alongside two other people at Area 18 Roundabout in Lilongwe where they converged to start their demonstration.
“We have arrested Billy Mayaya and his two colleagues: Lackson Million, a businessman from Biwi, and Chimwemwe Sipoko, a teacher by profession. They have been arrested for taking it on their own to conduct demonstrations despite Lilongwe City Counci l expressing reservations that they reschedule it to another day.
“By disregarding the Council’s directive and proceeding with the demonstration, they violated Section 108/109 of the Police Act,” Kadadzera said.
HRCC Chairperson, Robert Mkwezalamba, faulted the police for acting without fairness by arresting Mayaya when he had followed all arrangements.
“We understand Mayaya informed Lilongwe City Council and the police. The police could not arrest him but rather order him to disperse the crowd if they felt he disregarded the council’s advice to defer the protest. We are discussing with the police and we expect them to release him unconditionally or we will react,” Mkwezalamba said.
This was one of the series of demonstrations that the activist has been conducting against government and the latest being on the Land Bills that he staged in Lilongwe.
Mayaya, who has been charged with the offence of conducting demostrations without consent, appeared before the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court to apply for bail.
However, hearing has been deferred till today meaning that Mayaya spent a night in a holding cell.
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