The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) is calling for regular protests every Tuesday and Friday nationwide starting on Tuesday, July 16, to demand the resignation of the Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson Jane Ansah. Local media outlets have reported that the HRDC has said it will protest four times a week if Ansah does not resign. Specific details regarding the July 16 protests have not been released as of Thursday, July 11; however, previous demonstrations have been held in Blantyre near the Election Commission offices and in Mzuzu. Previous rallies have resulted in clashes between protesters and security forces or rival political supporters; similar violence is possible during Tuesday's demonstrations.
Heightened security measures and localized traffic disruptions are anticipated around protest sites. American diplomatic authorities have also warned of the possibility of looting and violence during the demonstrations. Further election-related demonstrations are likely in the coming weeks.
Election-related demonstrations organized by opposition supporters have been held since May 26 after voting irregularities were reported during the May 21 general elections. Protesters have notably criticized Ansah and called for her resignation, after being accused of mishandling the presidential elections.
Individuals in Malawi 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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