Twelve UPND supporters, who were arrested on Friday and charged with unlawful assembly, have pleaded not guilty to the offence.

Appearing for plea before Petauke resident magistrate Ackson Mumba, the 12 UPND supporters were being represented by Cornelius Mweetwa of Muleza Mwimbu and Company.

Facts before the court were that the 12 UPND supporters on June 28, 2019 whilst acting together in Petauke district assembled with intent to carry out some common purpose or conduct themselves in such a manner as to cause persons in the neighbourhood reasonably to fear that the person so assembled will commit a breach of peace.

And magistrate Mumba granted cash bail to 11 out of the 12 UPND supporters in the sum of K800 each, with two working sureties, who are residents of Petauke bound at K1000 in their own recognizance.

The other accused person, Christopher Phiri, is already on police bond.

The matter has been adjourned to Friday this week for commencement of trial.

The 12 were arrested during a UPND meeting where the opposition party was receiving defectors from the ruling party.

UPND provincial spokesperson Victor Mbuzi said among the arrested members who defected from the Patriotic Front Party include former Petauke District Chairperson Sandford Mwanza and former District Information and Publicity Secretary Ledger Tembo.