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Malawi police fire tear gas at anti-government protest

By Peter Jegwa | BBC News Africa |

Malawian police used tear gas to disperse a crowd of over 2,000 anti-government protestors in its biggest city, Blantyre.

The demonstrators were protesting against the rising cost of living, which they attribute to what they say is “bad and incompetent” leadership of President Lazarus Chakwera.

Images and video clips of protest organiser Bon Kalindo, a well-known comedian and politician, who now calls himself the “voice of the voiceless” are in wide circulation on social media, showing him fleeing the protest scene.

Police say they had secured an agreement with Mr Kalindo to call off the protest after it emerged that there were rival groups fighting among themselves and also perpetrating violence against onlookers.

But Mr Kalindo said no such agreement was reached, and that is why he proceeded to lead the protests.

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Huge clouds of tear gas were fired in and around the Blantyre business district, where there are banks, hotels, shops and offices bringing business to a stand still.

News organisations and journalists have been sharing videos from Blantyre:

There has been a sharp rise in the price of basic commodities in Malawi recently, but government spokesperson Gospel Kazako has defended President Chakwera, saying the rising cost of living was a consequence of global trends after world economies took a hit due to disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. BBC News