Police in Kitwe on Monday arrested 22 people, including party officials from the opposition Patriotic Front (PF), following riotous protests by people angered when police arrived at the Kitwe Magistrates Court to control the crowd.
The crowd gathered at the venue in support of a court appearance of Roman Catholic priest Father Frank Bwalya who was arrested over the weekend for protesting against alleged corruption and other issues in the country.
Bwalya was arrested and detained for three days for distributing red cards to members of the public as part of a Red Card Campaign launched by civil society groups over two weeks ago.
The campaign, which is synonymous with a red card given to football players for flouting the game’s rules, is meant to show displeasure with government’s handling of corruption and what the civil society say is poor governance by President Rupiah Banda’s government.
Bwalya is facing one count of conduct likely to cause breach of peace for which he could land him a jail sentence or a fine. After appearing before the Kitwe Magistrate’s Court on Monday for commencement of tria, he was granted bail.
However, outside the court premises trouble began when police attempted to “control” the crowd which reacted violently to its presence, resulting in the arrests.