Thousands of Malawian women and girls were on the streets on Friday protesting against recent attacks on women wearing miniskirts and trousers. The victims were attacked and stripped naked in the streets this week by a gang of unemployed youths and vendors.
The protest, organised by leading rights activists in Malawi was also joined by the Vice President Joyce Banda, to show her solidarity with fellow women.
Speaking during the protest in the commercial capital Blantyre, Banda said: “We have to say no to abuse against women. We have to fight for women’s rights.”
Seodi White, one of the organisers of the protest also said: “Malawian women want to take back their dignity. There should be no difference between men and women.”
Bob Marley’s music, “No woman no cry”, was played as the protesters danced to make their voices heard.
On Wednesday police announced that 15 men had been arrested in connection with the incident, prompting President Bingu wa Mutharika to defend women’s right to wear whatever they liked.
Malawi’s first president, the late Hastings Kamuzu Banda, banned women from wearing pants and mini-skirts. Men were forbidden from having long hair.
This ended when the dictator was ousted in 1994, but the country remains a little conservative.