Malawi protests visible but do not pose a threat to BIC workers
GRANTHAM, Pa. (july 21, 2011)—Yesterday, the BBC and other news outlets reported that, despite a ban imposed on the planned demonstration, thousands of individuals took to the streets of Malawi’s three major cities—Mzuzu, Blantyre, and the capital of Lilongwe—to protest several significant issues facing thecountry, including fuel shortages, higher taxes, and governance. Though calls were made for peaceful demonstration, tragically, the protests have, to date, resulted in ten deaths, dozens of hospitalizations, and the destruction of property. (For more on the situation, read the BBC’s Malawi riots erupt in Lilongwe and Mzuzu and Malawi army deployed over anti-Mtharika protests.)
Despite the recent unrest, BIC workers in Malawi report that they remain safe.
Brian Bell, a BIC worker in Blantyre, confirmed, “We are fine, although there are lots of reports of problems last night and possibly more demonstrations today.”
Seth M., who also lives in Blantyre and whose parents are BIC workers in a rural village north of the city, added, “The banks have remained open, with limited hours, but most shops are closed, the market is empty, and there were rumors of soldiers in the area.”
Seth’s father, Doug M., noted, “Things are peaceful in Mangochi.”
While the situation does not yet appear to be escalating, the team of workers in Malawi does ask for prayer for the region. “We would ask people to pray for peace and a way forward for this struggling country,” shares Bell.