Riots erupt in Zambia’s capital

2014-11-04 12:17

Demonstrators fought police in Zambia in protests against the acting president, Guy Scott, who fired the ruling party chief following the death last week of President Michael Sata.

The riots occurred late yesterday in several places in the Zambian capital of Lusaka, including the University of Zambia and a government building designated as a place for Sata mourners to gather, according to witnesses.

Protesters had descended on the building, Belvedere Lodge, with stones, machetes and other weapons, and police fired tear gas into the venue to clear demonstrators from the area.

The protesters were angry over the decision by Scott to dismiss Edgar Lungu, the ruling party’s general secretary.

Lungu, who remains defence and justice minister, said his dismissal was illegal and accused Scott, a white Zambian of Scottish descent, of “insulting our culture”.

Under the Constitution, Zambia must hold a presidential election within 90 days of a president’s death.

Scott, the country’s former vice-president, has said he is not interested in running for president. In any case he barred from the office because his parents were not Zambian by birth or descent. Lungu has been considered a possible presidential candidate from the ruling Patriotic Front party.

Sata (77) died October 28 in a London hospital after a long illness. His body arrived in Lusaka on Saturday and was taken to a conference centre for public viewing until the burial on November 11. The conference centre has not been affected by the rioting.

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