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Malawi leader warns protesters planning airports shutdown

The protesters have threatened a three-day shutdown of the country's borders and airports, starting 26 August.

Malawian President Peter Mutharika. Picture: United National Photos.

BLANTYRE - Malawi's President Peter Mutharika on Wednesday ordered the country’s security forces to crackdown on protesters planning to shut down airports and border crossings as part of new post-election demonstrations.

Mutharika, who was re-elected in last May's contentious elections, said he will take steps to protect the country's borders and that any attempts at closing down frontiers will be met with "all the necessary force".

Speaking as he commissioned Malawi Defence Forces (MDF) ships in the southeastern district of Mangochi, Mutharika said the demonstrations being organised by a human rights coalition and two opposition parties, are not about elections but were an attempt to usurp power.

"Without the borders, there is no Malawi. These people are waging war on our country and it's treasonous."

"I have no choice but to take necessary measures to protect the borders with all the necessary force," Mutharika said. "I am directing the police and MDF to stop these demonstrations."

Thousands of Malawians have taken to the streets of various cities in recent months to protest the results of the May 21 elections, in which Mutharika was declared winner with 38.67% of the vote.

The protesters have threatened a three-day shutdown of the country's borders and airports, starting 26 August.

The Constitutional Court is currently hearing a case brought by the opposition to have the election results annulled over irregularities.

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