Riots by public primary school pupils over the nationwide strike by their teachers entered a third day today in Blantyre with pupils from Kachanga primary School in Chileka blocking the road to Chileka airport and smashing some vehicles.
However, an official from Chileka Airport who did not want to be named said no passenger was inconvenienced as police was quick to calm down the situation.
“We were worried because this is a busy day since we expect four flights. But lucky enough no passenger has missed a plane or complained of being inconvenienced in any way,” he said.
An eye witness who did not want to be named said police fired teargas to disperse the pupils and beat up those they could lay their hands on, some below the age of 12.
He added that some were taken to Chileka Police Station where they are being kept.
“The police beat up the children mercilessly but we were helpless to intervene looking at how angry the law enforcers were. We saw them took three of the pupils to the station,” he said.
In a separate interview, Chileka police spokesperson Grace Mwale confirmed that some of the pupils have been arrested, however she could not give the exact figure.
The riots by pupils started on Monday in Blantyre, Ntcheu and Balaka districts.
23 people including nine pupils were arrested in Ntcheu following the riot there.
The riots entered a second day in Blantyre yesterday and police in Chileka arrested ten pupils following violent protests in Lunzu.
According to Mwale, three police officers were injured during yesterday’s fracas; two of them were treated as outpatients at Mlambe Mission Hospital while one senior officer was referred to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital.
Meanwhile, Police have condemned what it called “shameful act” by the pupils and urged them to follow proper procedures to present their grievances.
In a statement released Wednesday, national police spokesperson James Kadadzera strongly warned all from taking the law into their own hands as solution to have their voices heard.
He further said police believe some criminals took advantage of the rioting pupils to steal from unsuspecting passers-by.
“We believe rogues hiding behind the pupils blocked the roads, stoned motorists, interrupted traffic flow, demanded money from motorists, which are all illegal and criminal acts.”
Additionally, the Police remind parents, guardians and teachers that the safety and security of their children is important. The pupils should be greatly discouraged from taking to the streets to advance the agenda of other quarters. Anything may happen on the street including being run over by speeding vehicles,” he said.
Kadadzera mentioned that investigations have revealed that some individuals with their own intentions possibly aimed at discrediting the government are coaxing pupils to go to the streets.
“Let these individuals be warned that once found relevant charges will be leveled against them,” he warned.