Wednesday, 8 September 2010

13 dead, 300 injured, 224 arrested in violent demonstrations last week

Thirteen dead, at least 300 injured, and 224 arrested is the toll of three days of demonstrations against prices rises and the high cost of living. The main protests were in Maputo and the adjoining city of Matola, with both cities paralysed on Wednesday and Thursday (1 and 2 September) and only slightly functioning on Friday. Activity returned to normal on Saturday.

In Maputo and Matola young people coordinated by mobile telephone text message (SMS) blocked all main roads with burning tyres and other barriers on Wednesday. There was also some looting of shops and market stalls, and cars and buses were attacked.

There were also disturbances in the Beira corridor (Beira, Chimoio, Gondola and Vila Manica) with disruptions Wednesday and Thursday. In Chimoio the main road was blocked and part of a market looted and burned; demonstrations continued through Friday.

Soldiers and police were still on the streets Monday. Offices were open but Noticias reported that public transport was still limited, with many private minibuses (chapas) not running. The free newspaper @Verdade on its website ( and Carlos Serra on his blog report that it was impossible to send text messages with either mobile telephone company Monday or Tuesday. Yesterday (Tuesday 7 September) was a public holiday.

Health Minister Ivo Garrido announced the 13 deaths in Maputo and Matola. Noticias reported more than 290 injuries and 150 arrests in Maputo and Matola, and six injuries and 68 arrests in Chimoio and Manica. MediaFax and WampulaFax reported the six people were arrested in Nampula for trying to organise demonstrations.

Police spokesman Pedro Cossa said repeatedly that the police were only using rubber bullets and not live ammunition, but this has been widely contradicted by the media and observers. The government newspaper Noticias quoted Natércia Duarte, clinical director of Hospital Geral José Macamo in Maputo, saying that 43 of those admitted had been shot by firearms. Garrido in an interview with O Pais published Friday said some of those in the Maputo Central Hospital had been shot. Noticias reported that two of the injured in Chimoio were children shot by police in the Francisco Manyanga neighbourhood.

The free weekly newspaper @Verdade in its 3 September issued carried the photograph (below) of the body of Helio, an 11-year old schoolboy who it said was shot in the head by police Wednesday on Avenida Acordos de Lusaka in Maputo as he returned from school. The article is attached.

A video has been posted on YouTube which appears to show someone shooting from the first floor of a Frelimo building on Av de Angola in Maputo.

Detailed coverage of the demonstrations, in Portuguese, is available on the O Pais website ( with pictures, and on the blog “Diário de um sociólogo” by Carlos Serra ( There are also photos on:
Accessing the YouTube video also gives links to other videos of the demonstrations

In a statement on 1 September, President Armando Guebuza stressed that “the government is implementing an action plan to increase food production and in a general way taking actions to struggle against poverty in urban and rural areas, and has already registered progress in implementing this plan for food production as well as the supply of water and sanitation, and improving transport, communications, health and education.”

President Guebuza’s 1 September statement is on

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