27 February 2013

Zambia: Hichilema Released On Bail

Photo: CDDR-zambia
Zambian police beat and teargas opposition protesters.

This afternoon opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development (UPND) was released from police custody after spending a night in jail. The Kalomo Magistrate Court set the bail at KR2,000, charging Hichilema with “proposing violence.”

Hichilema was arrested along with some 20 other members of the UPND in response to the death of a youth cadre of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party, Harrison Chanda. The controversial arrests took place just days before the upcoming by-elections in Livingstone and Mpongwe.

Riots broke out yesterday in Livingstone after Hichilema was arrested.

Reports from the tourist capital said a tourist was caught in the violence, creating panic as foreign visitors to Victoria Falls had to lock themselves in hotel rooms.

Armed riot police were reportedly deployed en masse, vacating the streets amid exchanging clashes with protesting UPND members.

Earlier Home Affairs Minister Edgar Lungu directed the UPND leader to surrender himself before the police. Mr. Lungu has blamed the UPND leader for the death of PF cadre in Livingstone ahead of this Thursday’s by election.

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