Isolated clashes between rival political groups were reported in Blantyre on Thursday, July 4, as supporters of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) prepared to hold demonstrations. Suspected members of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Youth Cadets reportedly started beating protesters as they gathered near the Chichiri Shopping Centre. According to media reports, Malawi Defense Force (MDF) soldiers eventually dispersed the attackers and recovered at least three knives. Around 30 people were reportedly wounded in the clashes.
HRDC organized demonstrations are scheduled to continue on Friday, July 5, to demand the resignation of Jane Ansah, the head of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC). Additional attacks targeting opposition protesters are possible on Friday. Heightened security measures and localized traffic disruptions are anticipated around all protest sites. Further election-related demonstrations are also possible in the coming weeks.
Election-related demonstrations have been held since May 26 after voting irregularities were reported during the May 21 general elections. On June 20, police forcibly dispersed protesters in Blantyre and Mzuzu.
Individuals in Malawi, particularly in Blantyre, are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate transportation disruptions and a heightened security presence, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, and avoid all protests and public gatherings.
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