In reaction to PF thugs ‘s attack on a UPND rally earlier in the afternoon, Matero residents have pulled down PF offices.
And police officers who were caught up in the fracas, had to run for their lives and watch from a safe distance as the rival political groups fought running battles. The PF cadres, some armed with axes and catapults, emerged as the UPND rally was underway and attempted to hack some youths who were keeping vigil at the roadside waiting for the arrival of their party president Hakainde Hichilema.
Police who were also present at the UPND gathering to maintain law and order, scared off the PF cadres using teargas. But instead of dispersing the PF cadres who were against the wind, the teargas choked the crowd that was attending the UPND rally in the opposite direction. This angered the UPND members who assumed that the police were trying to disperse them. The furious cadres took to the street charging towards the police, stoning them in the process while chanting, “We want peace! We want peace!” Some youths were seen stoning police officers with catapults, while others literally chased the officers on foot.
A van carrying riot police officers was stoned and several armed officers who attempted to jump off, fell as the driver tried to speed off. Two officers who fell off the police van remained vulnerable in the middle of the Matero-Lilanda Commonwealth Road as the UPND cadres took turns throwing objects at them. The cadres also turned on journalists who were seen taking pictures of the unfolding violent scenes, threatening to beat up the reporters and break their cameras. Having already defeated both the PF cadres and the police, the UPND cadres then marched to Matero Police Station, still chanting, “We want peace!” to pounce on the officers manning the station. When they were restrained by a reinforced police cordon, the cadres walked to the PF Matero Constituency office instead, where they broke windows and damaged burglar bars before setting the furniture inside on fire. Terrified riot police watched from a distance and could not stop the UPND youths who were vandalising the PF office, while others blocked Commonwealth Road and were seen directing traffic to alternative routes. Almost an hour later, the Lusaka Fire Brigade arrived to extinguish the fire at the constituency office, but the furniture as well as documents were already in ashes. Calm only returned in Matero after Hichilema arrived and addressed the youths.