POLICE in Livingstone have arrested 54 people for alleged riotous behaviour after taxi drivers ran amok in protest against the increase in the pump price of fuel and the hiking of statutory fees by the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA).
Southern Province commissioner Mary Chikwanda said in an interview yesterday that the suspects were apprehended in the fracas but that police have restored calm.
“I can confirm that the police in Livingstone have arrested 54 people and the situation is calm. I want to advise people that whenever they have an issue with Government, they should always opt for dialogue because it is the best way out,” Ms Chikwanda said.
Business came to a standstill in Livingstone after protesting taxi and minibus drivers clashed with police.
The protesters blocked Mosi-oa-Tunya Road, the city’s main road, in the central business district with stones and burning tyres around 08:00 hours and defied police orders to disperse.
Calm, however, returned to Livingstone around 13:30 hours although motorists had a tough time driving into the central business district because the road was still blocked with stones and burning tyres.
Wynter Ng’andu, a taxi driver, claimed that the increase in statutory fees by RTSA is unreasonable and unfortunate.
“The increases have a negative impact on our operations as taxi drivers.
“RTSA has increased their fees, and the price of fuel has also been increased,” he said.
RTSA has increased road tax, which will now range between K90 to K1,125 per quarter, depending on the weight of the vehicle.
Annual tax ranges from K300 to K3,750.