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Women in Malawi Take to the Streets

Dozens of sex workers took to the streets of Malawi’s capital Lilongwe on Thursday to protest against what they described as “targeted police brutality” following new Covid-19 restrictions. The protests were led by the Female Sex Workers Association (FSWA), which has about 120,000 members across the country, according to its national coordinator, Zinenani Majawa. The southern African country has seen Covid numbers rise dramatically this month, prompting the government to take drastic action, with land borders closed and isolation orders for anyone arriving by air. But the sex workers said some of the new restrictions had led police to target them. These include an 8pm curfew on bars, with customers required to take away drinks, and an order that no one must be found socialising between 9pm and 5am. FSWA has petitioned the government to extend the closing time for bars to midnight and keep them open at weekends, “It is noted that some gathering places like churches have maintained their normal gathering hours while observing the preventive measures and we feel segregated and discriminated hence we request to uplift the measures and let us do business as usual while observing the preventive measures.” Said Majawa.