Wednesday, July 20, 2011

20 July Mass Demos Blantyre Situation Report

I woke up very early in the morning and went through various townships just to see how people are preparing for the mass demonstrations. I had to walk on foot because there were no minibuses then and it was difficult to travel in cars. I started from Chilobwe.

Chilobwe, Zingwangwa, Naperi

The situation was very quite then and no minibuses were travelling and a few local shops were open. People were waiting for minibuses in bus stops while some were just walking. There is fear among most people and they generally just wanted to go to their offices and see how things were like. Apart from the people who were waiting for minibuses, some were just standing in the side of the roads just waiting to see how things will turn out. Most filling stations are closed and are guarded by heavily armed policemen.

Chilimba, Mbayani and Chemusa

I proceed through to Chilimba not going via town. The situation is the same like in Chilobwe people are just anxious to see what will happen.

City Centre

Heavy police presence in many areas like Clock tower, MRA, Roundabouts, filling stations  and many important places.   A few offices like MRA, Post Office are open at this time while some companies are sending back their employees. There is news making rounds that government has obtained an injunction against the demos, but the organisers are saying that it is a lie to distract people from marching.

Am now going through to Shoprite via the venue of starting the demonstrations and will come back to update you.