Malawi still overcast by July 20 riots (2)

14:16, July 27, 2011      

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The police beating, according to the local media, left five local journalists and a dozen civil society leaders severely beaten.

Meanwhile, the situation was the same in the southern city of Blantyre except that the police there managed to hold the protesters as the civil society and opposition leaders, with the help of some lawyers went to the High Court to negotiate the vacation of the past-midnight injunction.

The situation in Blantyre worsened in the afternoon after the High Court injunction on the protests was vacated at around 14:30 local time.

In the northern city of Mzuzu the riots started earlier than the rest of the cities following the police's conduct towards the gathered protester.

According to the local media the police dispersed the protesters in Mzuzu outright at the point of assembly, a thing that infuriated the demonstrators who fought against the police and overpowered them.

As the police and demonstrators clashed in Lilongwe, protestors in the capital's locations went on rampage, causing indescribable damage.

Unlike in the rest of the cities, Zomba City held peaceful demos and the police were commended for acting professionally.

However, things in the city turned worse later in the day when looting and vandalism became the order the day.

HINGE FACTOR FOR RIOTS:

DPP pickups going round the cities of Blantyre on the eve of the July 20 threatening havoc on the set demo day.

The July 20 eleventh-hour court injunction obtained by one concerned citizen (who fled to the neighboring Tanzania and has since apologized for the loss of lives and property during the riots).

Lack of coordination on the part of the Malawi Police Service whereby some protesters in some cities were allowed to march yet in other cities the law enforcers dispersed the protestors on the onset, beating up journalists and organizers of the demos.

RIOTS INDUCED LOSSES:

The July 20 demonstrations, which spilled over to July 21, claimed 19 lives with the highest death toll occurring in the northern city of Mzuzu which registered nine deaths including two police officers.

According to the local and international media reports, most of the deceased were shot at by the police.

About seven deaths were registered in Lilongwe, two in Blantyre and one in Karonga district up north.

Property damages in the capital included the looting and demolition of the country's business magnets and DPP senior officials, Mulli Brothers' business property destroying goods worth over 4 million U.S.dollars.

Other kinds of damage in the capital included the demolition and vandalizing of Information Minister, Vuwa Kaunda's business property; demolition of four police houses, burning of police vehicles and looting of a number of Indian and Chinese shops.

The country's leading chain stores, People's and Chipiku in various locations in the capital were also vandalized, looted and burnt.

Banks also suffered the damage where in Lilongwe, First Merchant Bank, FMB, and Opportunity International Bank of Malawi, OIBM, in one location in the city was reported to have been vandalized and robbed of unspecified amounts of cash.

The scenario was the same in Blantyre where similar chain store shops in the city's locations were vandalized, looted and burnt.

In Mzuzu, the ruling DPP office was demolished and the party's vehicle was burnt to ashes by irate protesters.

Zomba, a city in the country's eastern political region, registered no major damages although a few minor shops suffered damages later in the evening of July 20.


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(Editor:陈乐乐)

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