Youths find innovative ways to protest in Zambia

Peaceful Assembly

Young Zambian celebrities and other youth held a protest in an unknown location which they broadcast live on social media platforms on 22nd June 2020. The protest, dubbed the ‘bush protest’ was held to denounce bad governance and what they referred to as ‘oppression by the government and foreign investors’. Among other demands, the protesters called on the government to curb corruption, be accountable, respect human rights, create job opportunities and include the youth.

According to those who participated, the protest was held in the bush because authorities had warned them against holding it and had threatened to use lethal force on them. One of the protesters, hip hop recording artist Fumba Chama, popularly known as ‘Pilato’ said:

“We have decided to protest from the bush because the streets in our own country have become dangerous for young people to walk and protest… Because we wanted to express ourselves we’ve been told that our bones would be broken, we’ve been told that we will be met with the new equipment that has been acquired by the police.”

They vowed to sustain the protests on a monthly basis until the issues they raised are addressed. Meanwhile, police in riot gear patrolled the capital’s central business district in anticipation of the peaceful protests, with the police spokesperson announcing that they had not been given a permit to protest, citing COVID-19 restrictions. The spokesperson also accused civil society organisations of inciting youths to protest.