Tanzanian police arrest lawyer, opposition politician for planning protests

Tanzanian police have arrested a lawyer and an opposition politician for allegedly planning to organize nationwide protests aimed at bringing down the government of President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

The lawyer, Boniface Anyasile Mwabukusi, and the opposition politician, Mpaluka Nyagali, were arrested on Saturday. Police say they were planning to hold demonstrations around the country to protest the government’s decision to approve a port development and management agreement between Tanzania and the Emirate of Dubai.

Mwabukusi was among the lawyers who challenged the legality of the agreement in court. The High Court rejected his challenge on Thursday.

Human Rights Watch has said that at least 22 people have been detained or threatened since June for criticizing parliament for approving the port agreement.

Hassan’s government has won praise for rolling back her predecessor’s crackdowns on the opposition and civil rights groups. But the arrests have raised questions over her government’s human rights record.

Chief government spokesperson Gerson Msigwa denied accusations of silencing opposition voices.

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