Malawi: Anti-Govt Protests Spark New Clashes

Thousands of Malawians took to the streets to protest against the government (file photo).
21 July 2011

Renewed clashes and violence were reported from towns in Malawi on Thursday, a day after thousands of protesters marched against the government.

The Face of Malawi reported on rising tensions in towns, such as Limbe, which were relatively peaceful yesterday.

The website also recorded unconfirmed reports suggesting the government has given the Malawi army 'shoot-to-kill' orders. As a consequence, civil society organizations, which organized the July 20 demonstrations, released a radio announcement warning citizens against participating in further demonstrations.

The organisations also said the government regarded the protests as illegal, and advised citizens that their grievances have been presented to President Bingu wa Mutharika for his consideration.

The statement said "it is important to wait for the responses from the president". It closed by conveying condolences to families of those who lost their lives in the demonstrations and said "they did not die in vain".

Also on Thursday, Mutharika addressed Malawians and called for talks with the organizations which led the demonstrations, according to Newstime Africa.

In a 20-minute speech given during the lunchhour, Mutharika asked civil rights groups and opposition political parties to form a committee to meet him and try to find a solution to the country's problems.

In his speech, he also referred to citizens killed during the demonstrations. Unconfirmed reports say that as many as eight were killed.

The Malawi police have used local radio stations to issue a stern warning against continued protests.

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