Archive | July 20, 2011

Malawian Demonstrations Turn Into Riots

DPP Vehicle in Flames

Months of foreign exchange shortages, fuel shortages, unemployment and heavy handed policies by the increasingly autocratic President Bingu wa Mutharika have resulted in mass demonstrations througout Malawi today. An unprecendented number of Malawians have taken to the streets to protest Bingu’s Presidency and to call for his resignation.

What were originally intended as peaceful demonstrations, however, have quickly turned to violent riots. Bingu’s Democratic Progressive Party have dispatched trucks filled with machete waving thugs. Police and military, at the behest of the current government, have been reported to have been witnessed beating protesters.

"To Hell with Bingu"


A reporter for Capital Radio Malawi has been beaten by police in Zomba. Deaths and injuries are already being reported.

Worse yet, the chaos has allowed looters to break into store fronts, including the Bata Shoe Store in downtown Blantyre, which now sits empty. Women have ben spotted carting off groceries and household items from local stores.

Protesters have set fire to DPP vehicles, and a police station in Chirimba sits in flames, even as I write this.

The situation is quickly spiralling out of control, though news and pictures are proving difficult to come by. I can imagine that as night falls (very soon) things will only get worse.

DPP thugs are out in full force. The Nyasatimes reports:

The gang of machete-wielding youths took to the streets in DPP branded vehicles and stopped at several points, got out their vehicles and sharpened their pangas.

“It’s scary. They have literally blocked the main road and are sharpening their knives right on the tarmac and threatening
everyone,” a bank executive, who did not want to be named, told Reuters.
Bingu’s Young cadets wileding machetes

Eye witness report said they chanted the now familiar DPP war-cry in Malawi’s lingua franca, Chichewa: “Onyoza boma sagona, timpweteka! (“Those opposing government will not sleep, we will deal with them!”)

They also savagely attacked a Mandasi seller who appeared to have made“rude” remarks against the threats.

Update: Capital Radio reports: “The world is on Malawi, CNN, BBC, Aljazera, CCTV and more. Riots in Ndirande, Chitawira, Zingwangwa. Ndirande is a WAR ZONE.”

Update: 12:07 pm EST RT @ianchakhaza: The volatile township of Ndirande in Blantyre is erupting with reports of police using live ammunition there #July20 #Malawi 20 are reported dead.
(These photos came from Capital Radio Malawi)

Update: 12:21 pm Chirimba, across from teh Queens Hospital is in flames and people are still stoning the police

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