Mozambique’s police boss Bernardino Rafael has issued a decree prohibiting civilians from wearing police uniform including in art performances.

He said it had been used in ways that don’t give a good image of the force, but artists say the decision is “dictatorial”.

Theatre actor Aranica Pagere, better known as Comandante Faísca, has been wearing police uniform in his recent shows and says the decree “doesn’t make sense” and performers “will not sit back”.

The authorities say the decree is a matter of defending sovereignty.

Lawyer Osvanildo Mathe says using police uniforms in artistic representations isn’t a crime, and the police boss has no authority to issue such a decree against artists who don’t work in the police force.

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