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Zambia 'red card' priest Frank Bwalya defiant

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A Zambian priest who is leading a campaign to force the government to resign has been freed on bail after spending three nights in jail.

Father Frank Bwalya denies charges of breaching the peace after distributing red cards - the symbol of his campaign.

After being freed, he told the BBC he had "never felt so confident" about his message and said the government was corrupt and dictatorial.

Officials have denied the arrest was politically motivated.

The priest's critics have labelled him a rabble-rouser, but Fr Bwalya said his campaign has wide support.

"People agree with our message because it's their own message," he told the BBC's Focus on Africa.

"The people would have liked the government to go yesterday - but we're a country of laws and there are procedures."

The priest was arrested in the northern city of Kitwe on Friday when he was distributing his red cards - a symbol borrowed from football, when players are shown a red card when they are dismissed from the game.

He is encouraging Zambians to honk their car horns and show their red cards on Fridays, to display their displeasure with the government.

Dozens of protests gathered outside the court during his hearing, and police fired tear gas to disperse them.

Analysts say he enjoys wide support in Kitwe, an opposition stronghold.

The priest is spearheading the anti-government campaign, which is being backed by several other groups of activists.



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