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Malawi police tear gas protesters, leaders arrested


Police in Malawi tear gas protesters on Tuesday as a pro-democracy activist handed himself in over his calls for anti-government demonstrations.

Timothy Mtambo heads the Human Rights Defenders Coalition, which has been spearheading protests since last year’s disputed presidential elections.

“I can confirm that the chairperson of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition in Malawi, comrade Timothy Mtambo, handed himself over to police. This is in response to the warrant of arrest that was issued on Sunday”, executive member of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition in Malawi, Luke Tembo said.

Lawyer for the Coalition Khwima Mchizi is not sure whether his client will be granted bail .

“We will wait and see. It’s unlikely that he will be given police bail. So if all the processes are done at the police station, the file will be ready to apply for bail at court”,
Mchizi said.

President Peter Mutharika was narrowly re-elected in May 2019. But in February, the Constitutional court annulled the results, citing widespread irregularities.

Mtambo has been on police wanted listed following the arrest of fellow activists Gift Trapence and MacDonald Sembereka on Sunday.

About 5,000 supporters gathered outside the police station in the Malawian capital of Lilongwe in solidarity with the man seen as the face of anti-government resistance.

Police fired teargas at protesters before whisking Mtambo into the police station, according to AFP.


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