'Red Army' Protests Turn Violent

21/07/2011 09:04 BST | Updated 19/09/2011 10:12 BST

2011-07-20-images-284797_10150236920934094_522839093_7421437_3132871_n.jpg What started out as a peaceful protest, with the aim of calling for an end to the current poor economic and for democratic governance to be implemented by the leading party, has ended in violence.

The death toll is currently confirmed to be at two, but reports from within the protests suggest the figure to be at least into double figures (including the death of two policemen in the Mangochi district).

The people took to the street today after months of financial hardship and the apparent abuse of power by the ruling party, the DPP.

With protests arranged in Malawi's major towns and cities, the Public Affairs Committee attempted to deliver a petition highlighting the issue the country faces, stating that,

"Several attempts to engage the higher authorities have failed to produce tangible results. I don't know whether they will survive because they were shot badly," he said.

Many Malawians calling themselves the 'Red Army' today once again faced the heavy hand of the law as they demanded the resignation of President Bingu wa Mutharika, resulting in deaths -at least two people have reportedly been shot dead by security forces- and countless injuries and arrests by the Malawi Police.

Reports by Amnesty International claim hospitals have been attacked by the Malawi Police, Erwin van der Borght of the group explains, "firing tear gas into a hospital, affecting patients unable to flee from the gas, is unacceptable,"

From within the protests there are reports that the township of Ndirande in Blantyre has been fired upon as well at the northern township of Karonga being the victim of DPP supporters.

Rev. Mezuwa Banda, who was present at the Mzuzu demo in the Northern region, witnessed several assaults by the Malawi Police and DPP supporters.

"I don't know whether they will survive because they were shot badly" "One was shot in the stomach and the bullet came out the other side, the other had his liver and bowels out"

According to Human Rights activist Justin Dzonzi, "Looking at it from all angles, obviously, the police used excessive force,"

Journalists were banned from covering the demonstrations, leading the assault if those how refused to adhere. Kondwani Munthal of the Marvai post was one of the reporters attacked by security forces

"Beaten, arrested, camera confiscated, chased like a dog, walked over 7kmin tear gas, I am just proud to stand with the thousands who have spoken today that we are tired of this tyranny. Malawi shall survive and prevail,"

This is not Mutharika's first interference with the media, a source from within MBC, the national broadcaster explained that since the elections in 2009 "the once admired media house is now a soapbox for Bingu" "We report facts, the truth, but only that what makes the president look good"

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