Police halt protest in Malawi over fuel shortages

A Malawian rights activist says he was briefly detained by police to stop a march called to protest fuel shortages in this southern African country.

Mavuto Bamusi adds heavily armed police also positioned themselves around Lilongwe to stop Monday's march planned in the capital. Bamusi's Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation was a principal organizer of the demonstration.

Police spokesman Willie Mwaluka says the demonstration was stopped because it was not sanctioned by Lilongwe city authorities.

President Bingu wa Mutharika had made his opposition to the protest clear during a nationally televised speech to his party over the weekend, saying the organizers had been watching "too much Egypt," a reference to protests there that toppled a dictator.