Opposition Malawi Lawmaker Arrested for Torching a Police Station

Posted March 20th, 2012 at 10:50 pm (UTC-5)
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A Malawian lawmaker, Atupele Muluzi, the son of former president Bakili Muluzi, has been charged with “inciting violence” after his supporters burned down a police station following a clash at an anti-government rally.

National police spokesperson David Chingwalu told VOA authorities say the violence was sparked because Muluzi chose to hold his rally against official orders.

“If he had complied with what the district commissioner has said, telling him to postpone the rally, I think all these things would not have happened. We believe these people did this because of his arrogance. That is why they went ahead stoning the police and also burnt down the police station.”

Muluzi's supporters also destroyed cars parked near the station after the clash with police at the rally on Sunday.

Several opposition parties have condemned the arrest of Muluzi, who has been described as an aspiring 2014 presidential candidate. Opposition leaders say his arrest is a political move to silence critics of President Bingu Wa Mutharika.

Police spokesman Chingwalu denied the accusations of a political motivation. He said the police continue to investigate the incident and plan to arrest – and have already arrested – others involved in the destruction of police property.

United Democratic Party officials said Muluzi was detained at a police roadblock Tuesday as he traveled from the administrative capital Lilongwe to the commercial capital Blantyre.

International donors have cut aid to Malawi, citing concerns President Bingu Wa Mutharika has become autocratic.

At least 19 people were killed by police during anti-government demonstrations and looting in Malawi last year.