There was tension and panic ahead of today’s demonstrations against some government decisions that various businesses and schools have decided to close for business.
Heavy police presence was visible on most roads in Blantyre and Lilongwe, the country’s two major cities which are among the six areas to host the demonstrations. The others are Zomba and Mzuzu cities as well as Karonga and Rumphi districts.
Game Stores, Jhipiego Malawi and Blantyre Water Board (BWB) were among institutions that advised their clients that they will not open for business.
BWB has specifically closed its Ginnery Corner shop opposite The Polytechnic, according to a notice circulating on social media platforms, notably WhatsApp. The shop is along the route marchers will use in Blantyre.
The United States of America Embassy issued an alert informing its citizens and others of the impact of the demonstrations such as traffic disruptions and road closures around the areas of the protests.
Reads the US alert: “There is no indication of any plans for violence or civil disturbances. However in the past, protests in Malawi have encountered police/security force presence and the use of tear gas.”
In Lilongwe, the Area 2 Community Policing on Wednesday advised business people not to open their shops today as a precautionary measure to protect their businesses from acts of violence that could erupt as a result of the demonstrations.
Several schools have also advised parents that there will be no classes. Among the schools are Access Elementary School in Area 10 and African Bible College (ABC) Christian Academy in Lilongwe.
In Blantyre, Phoenix School and Southend Schools as well as several private nursery schools were among those that sent notices about having no classes today. n