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Will the injunction(s) against the demonstrations matter?

20 July 2011

Late yesterday, the Malawi Democrat reported there was an injunction granted in the high court in Lilongwe against the demonstrations in Malawi scheduled for today. I have been unable to confirm whether the reporting on the injunction is sourced solely in the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, the government-sponsored media organization. I also learned from the Nyasa Times editor late yesterday that a second injunction against the demonstrations was granted in a court in Blantyre by Judge Healy Potani to James Willie and Rodrick Makapu. That injunction specifically bans demonstrations in Blantyre. @Malawi2014 posted on Twitter that the injunction in Blantyre was granted at 1am and copies of it were given to media houses and organizers.

As I write this, journalist Travis Lupick reports via Twitter from Blantyre that the streets are quiet. He took this photo early this morning, ahead of the planned start time of the demonstration:

Others on Twitter have said they are confused as to whether the protests will go forward because of news of the injunction. Still others have said they are taking to the streets:

The injunctions only matter insomuch as the police are willing to enforce them. And, early tweets from the capital city Lilongwe suggest the police are out in force and that potential protest participants have already been detained:

http://twitter.com/#!/Kmondiwa/status/93550511508295681

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. 20 July 2011 9:17 am

    Sorry, twitter has not yet made an appearance in my life so here is a brief update:
    Situation in the country seems tense, particularly in towns and cities. Rural areas are totally quiet but I have never seen so many Malawian cops out (and this was only in Karonga). Most of them are carrying billy clubs but I saw a few with rifles, AKs, and one with a sawed off shot gun. Intimidating to say the least.

    As for the north, where there seems to be NO support for the government, I am concerned that the crowds forming in Karonga (which apparently has a history of police-civilian clashes) will devolve into mob/riot conditions. Those expats (myself included) who are located outside of cities are 100% safe but I would be wary about going out in urban areas tonight and possibly even tomorrow. Once crowds started to form and march in Karonga we high-tailed it out of there… academic curiosity will only get you so far when you are at risk of getting pinned between a rock (mob) and a hard place (the business end of an assault rifle held by a nervous police officer).

    Hoping everyone is safe and that the situation calms down. More protest, less riot might be a good start.

  2. Christy permalink
    21 July 2011 8:43 am

    If anyone is interested I have started a community on the Peace Portal – a new community – http://www.peaceportal.org/web/malawi-community/home – let’s try it out and keep the world updated (and ourselves) – its my first time using it but it may be worth keeping posted there – links in twitter feeds and mapping (like Ushahidi platform) and we may be able to add other tech tools. You may need to login and join as a member but once you do we can keep it active.

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  1. A Day of Protests in Malawi: A Chronological Account from Afar « haba na haba

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