The Blantyre community policing has pleaded with authorities in the city to block any attempt by civil society organisations or any interested party to hold demonstrations in the city as it puts lives of security officers in danger.
Speaking on Wednesday during Community Policing Executive Forum meeting, Chairperson for Blantyre Community Policing Misheck Munthali said demonstrations have a record of violence which has seen both security officers and protesters being injured or killed.
On July 20, 2011, 20 people died during national wide demonstrations aimed at forcing the Bingu wa Mutharika government to resign.
Human rights activist Billy Mayaya who was among the organizers of the July 20 protests is organising another demonstration in Lilongwe on Thursday next week to force government to act fast in addressing the hunger crisis by among others making available maize in all Admarc depots.
Said Munthali “even though organizers claim to hold peaceful demonstrations, we have all seen how they turn out to be. And the most affected are security officers. They are attacked by the mob and when they try to retaliate or protect themselves one thing or another happens and they end up being suspended or lose their job.”
He added that property of innocent individuals also get damaged or stolen by thieves who take advantage of the situation.
“I am pleading with the Southern region commissioner and the DC for Blantyre to please not allow these people in case they might wish to hold the protests here as well. If they want, let them do it elsewhere but not here in Blantyre,” said Munthali.
However, Blantyre Officer in Charge, Ellobium Banda differed with Munthali saying demonstrations are a constitutional right.
“We cannot stop people from holding peaceful demonstrations because it’s their constitutional right. We only look at security measures to employ,” said Banda.