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BLANTYRE, Malawi (AP) — Hundreds of women, joined by politicians and men, have protested in Malawi's commercial capital against thugs who have been stripping women of their pants and miniskirts.

Most of the women and girls who turned out for yesterday's protest wore pants or miniskirts. A recording of Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry" got a loud cheer when it was played during the protest.

Vice President Joyce Banda, who took part, says the vendors and others attacking women are thugs.

Some attackers claim their victims' dress was a sign of loose morals or that they were prostitutes.

During the dictatorship of the late Hastings Kamuzu Banda from 1963-1994, women in Malawi were banned from wearing pants and short skirts.

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