Mozambique – Public Transport Pay Rise Causes Police Reinforcements

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There is a greater police presence today at points in the cities of Maputo and Matola where trouble has flared in the past when, as today, public transport has gone up.

The municipality of Maputo today increased the price of public transport, which went up by three meticais to amounts between 10 meticais (13 euro cents) and 12 meticais (15 cents).

Lusa saw armoured Rapid Intervention Force (Mozambican riot police – FIR) and Protection Police vehicles in the Magoanine neighbourhood and in Combatentes Square in the outskirts of Maputo, the scene of clashes between the public and authorities in 2008 and 2010, following the rise in prices of public transport.

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FIR and the Protection Police personnel remained in their vehicles today however, with no animosity noticeable .

Several people also told Lusa that the situation in Avenida de Moçambique, where violence flared in the two previous riots over the rising cost of living, was calm.

Residents of the municipality of Matola, satellite city of the Mozambican capital, also described the situation as calm.

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A civil society organisation Public Integrity Centre statement issued today considers the public transport fare increases coming into force today illegal.

“The increase in tariffs is illegal,” the CIP said in a statement, noting that the law calls for the industry regulator, the National Land Transport Institute (Inaterr), to conduct a study before public transport fare increase comes into effect.

The means of public transport are owned by dozens of private individuals who either put into circulation buses or light vehicles with various numbers of seats or even offer rides on open freight vans, generally considered overcrowded and unsafe.

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The price of travel in the main Mozambican cities by public transport is a sensitive issue that has provoked protest in the past. An attempted increase in 2008, accompanied by a rise in the cost of other basic services, triggered violent demonstrations that resulted in deaths and the destruction of public and private assets.

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