Maputo, 21 Aug (AIM) – Members and supporters of Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo Party and of the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) came to blows in the central city of Beira on Sunday, during celebrations to mark the 116th anniversary of the elevation of Beira to the category of a city.
The MDM has controlled Beira Municipal Council for the last two decades, and one of Frelimo’s declared goals for the municipal elections scheduled for 11 October, is to wrest control of the city away from the MDM.
The Sunday violence was apparently over who would occupy the most prominent positions in Beira’s central square.
The mayor of Beira, Albano Carige of the MDM, tried to calm the situation down, but without much success. “We are witnessing bloodshed, violence and beatings. This is not our culture”, he declared.
Carige condemned the violence, and apologized to the municipality’s guests, who included Sofala Provincial Governor, Lourenco Bulha, and the Secretary of State for Sofala, Stella Zeca, who is also the Frelimo candidate for Mayor of Beira in the forthcoming municipal elections.
Eventually, it was police intervention that restored calm to the square. The police separated the Frelimo and MDM supporters. There were no reports of arrests, but two people were slightly injured in the clashes, including a police officer.