Severity: Warning Alert

Security: Protests against COVID-19 restrictions reported in multiple areas of Malawi April 16-17. Additional protests likely; avoid demonstrations.

This alert affects Malawi

This alert began 17 Apr 2020 11:17 GMT and is scheduled to expire 27 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Protests
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Start Time/Date: April 16
  • Impact: Transport disruptions, violence and looting

Demonstrations by residents and informal traders are ongoing in several areas of Malawi April 17, including in the capital, Lilongwe, Blantyre, Limbe, and in Kasungu. The protests are in opposition to a 21-day nationwide stay-at-home order that is set to run April 18-May 9; the government imposed the measures to halt the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Protesters have been blocking roads in affected areas with rocks, trees, burning tires, and other debris. Security forces have fired tear gas to disperse protesters in several areas, including Limbe and Kasungu. Related demonstrations occurred in Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mangochi, and Mzuzu April 16.

Additional related demonstrations are likely in the days ahead and could spread to other towns and cities nationwide. Violence is likely during any protests that materialize. Police will probably use teargas to disperse protesters, and could also use live ammunition. Protesters and other persons blocking vehicles could use excessive force against motorists who try to bypass informal roadblocks.

An increase in theft and looting of supermarkets is also possible over the coming days and weeks.

Avoid all protests. Monitor for updates on possible further protests and locations. Adhere to all COVID-19 related restrictions and advisories and avoid all demonstrations as a precaution. Keep away from areas with a heavy security presence due to the threat of further clashes. Ensure that valuables and recent purchases are stowed in the trunk of your vehicle. Keep doors locked and windows closed when traveling. Follow all official instructions. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.