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Protest aftermath: Police arrest 103

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Harry Namwaza

Police have arrested 103 people countrywide in connection with incidents of looting and destruction of property during the demonstrations that took place on Thursday.

Deputy National Police spokesperson Harry Namwaza said Friday that a majority of the people were arrested in the Eastern region where 56 people have so far been netted.

A group calling itself Citizens against Impunity and the Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiative (CDEDI) organized protests separately in Zomba and Lilongwe to force President Lazarus Chakwera to trim his powers and scrape off his immunity.

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“You know demonstrations are meant to be peaceful as stipulated in the Republican Constitution but there are some pockets of people who take advantage to cause mayhem and destroy people’s property. Those one we do arrest,” he said.

The police arrested 29 people in Lilongwe, five in Mzuzu, 18 in Ntcheu and 56 in the Eastern region.

Namwaza said the group will be charged with robbery, inciting violence and causing malicious damage.

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He said some business persons in places where the protests were taking place lost property worth of millions which may take time to be replaced, but gave assurance that police will hold all wrongdoers accountable for the losses.

“The charges are varied because the offences were also different but apart from inciting violence, others will be answering charges of arson and endangering the safety of people travelling on the roads,” Namwaza said.

Asked on what mechanisms they have in place to avoid chaotic scenes that continue to characterize protests in the country, in which police officers have to use tear gas to restore order, Namwaza said people have the responsibility to protest peacefully without impeding on the rights of other people.

Namwaza also said they have recorded a statement from CDEDI’s executive director Sylvester Namiwa who was allegedly abducted on Wednesday and later found at Nathenje in Lilongwe.

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