By Abdul Rahman Suagibu –
NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS, Freetown, Sierra Leone- Police on Thursday fired teargas at Malawi Congress Party (MCP) headquarters while the United States Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer was inside the building.
Palmer was holding a meeting with Malawi opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera at the MCP offices when police officers fired gas canisters into the compound to disperse MCP supporters.
The opposition party followers are protesting results of last month’s presidential election in which Chakwera came second, behind President Peter Muthanika of the Democratic Progressive Party.
Police spokesperson James Kadadzera admitted firing teargas at the MCP headquarters while Palmer was there but claimed that they were not aware of her presence.
“When the police were firing teargas we did not know anything until when she came out of the office,” he said.
Malawi police spokesperson James Kadadzera confirmed to local media Thursday that 18 MCP supporters, including the party’s parliamentarians had been arrested in the capital “for inciting violence.”
As running battles between the MCP followers and law enforcers continues, the police also fired teargas at the US Embassy building which is adjacent to the MCP headquarters. A US Embassy spokesman told the local media that Palmer’s meeting with Chakwera is part of a series of meetings the departing ambassador is holding with government officials and leaders of major political parties.
As for the teargas, we are monitoring the situation, US Embassy’s Public Affairs Officer Douglas Johnston said.
For New Africa Business News Abdul Rahman Suagibu Reports, Africa Correspondent