Police used tear gas to forcibly disperse a demonstration organized by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) in Lilongwe on Tuesday, October 1. Thousands reportedly participated in the demonstration at Lilongwe Community Ground to demand the resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah. At least one person was hospitalized after skirmishes erupted between protesters and security forces.
Additional protests are possible in Lilongwe over the near term. A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are to be expected around any demonstration site. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
Election-related demonstrations organized by opposition supporters have been held since May 26, after voting irregularities were reported during the May 21 general elections. Demonstrators have been calling for the resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah, accusing her of mishandling the presidential elections. While HRDC maintains its demands for Ansah's resignation, there is growing discontent among protesters with President Mutharika and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as a whole.
Individuals in Lilongwe are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all protests and public gatherings, anticipate transportation disruptions and a heightened security presence around the conference site, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
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