UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Police in Malawi on Thursday used tear gas to disperse protesters demanding the president’s resignation after an election they say is forged in an escalation of the authorities’ response to the protests that began two days ago.
A Reuters witness said thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets in the capital Lilongwe, and a group of them occupied a complex of presidential headquarters and government offices for the third day.
Protesters said the police also fired live ammunition at them. Police spokesman James Kadadzira said a child “had been hit by a shot” but escaped without giving further details.
President Peter Mutharika won a new term by a narrow margin in an election last month.
The Electoral Commission confirmed Mutharika’s victory on May 27, although opposition parties complained of irregularities and fraud.
The protests have gained strength since Tuesday.
“The crowds have turned violent today, so we decided to fire tear gas to quell the protests,” a police spokesman said.
Mutharika, a 78-year-old former law professor, developed infrastructure and managed to reduce inflation significantly during his first term, but his critics accuse him of corruption and nepotism. Mutharika denies the charges.
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