POLICE in riot gear fire teargas canisters to disperse a crowd of UPND supporters

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Zambia police cordon off ruling MMD party supporters outside the Supreme Court in the capital Lusaka when Rupiah Banda filed his re-election nomination papers on August 10, 2011. ELIAS MBAO|AFRICA REVIEW
Zambia police cordon off ruling MMD party supporters outside the Supreme Court in the capital Lusaka when Rupiah Banda filed his re-election nomination papers on August 10, 2011. ELIAS MBAO|AFRICA REVIEW

POLICE in riot gear yesterday fired teargas canisters to disperse a crowd of United Party for National Development (UPND) supporters who were waiting to be addressed by their leader Hakainde Hichilema in Mambwe District.
On Sunday police stopped a public meeting which was being addressed by Mr Hichilema in the same district.
Eastern Province Police chief Grace Chipalila yesterday warned that Mr Hichilema risked being arrested if he continued holding rallies without notifying the police.
The stopping of the meeting followed an order by the provincial police command for Mr Hichilema not to hold rallies in places where there were pending by-elections.
Parliamentary by-elections are due to be held in Malambo Constituency in Mambwe, Petauke Central in Petauke District, Kasenengwa Constituency in Chipata District, and Vubwi Constituency in Vubwi District.
The courts are yet to determine whether Dora Siliya (Petauke Central), Maxwell Mwale (Malambo), Victoria Kalima (Kasenengwa) and Eustarckio Kazonga (Vubwi) were eligible to stand after their seats were nullified owing to corrupt practices during the 2011 general elections.
Mr Hichilema together with his team abandoned the holding of the public meeting and instead decided to gather at Mambwe District Council premises according to police directives.
The opposition leader described the action by the police as an indication that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government was threatened by the presence of UPND in Eastern Province.
He charged that the PF had not fulfilled the promises it made to the Zambian people in the run up to the 2011 general elections.
Mr Hichilema yesterday again defied police orders and attempted to hold a public rally in Masumba area but it was stopped by officers who fired teargas canisters to disperse the supporters.
Provincial PF chairperson Lameck Mangani said Mr Hichilema was flouting the Electoral Code of Conduct by campaigning in Mambwe.
Mr Mangani said the PF was contemplating lodging a complaint at the Electoral Commission of Zambia because Malambo Constituency was expected to hold a by-election.
He advised Mr Hichilema to respect decisions made by the police regarding the Public Order Act.
The UPND president is in Eastern Province for a seven-day working visit.