Demolition blitz: Residents arrested

HARARE - At least 10 Epworth residents were arrested on Friday as police clashed with angry residents resisting evictions and demolitions  sanctioned by the Epworth local board, human rights lawyers said yesterday.

A police anti-riot unit was forced to fire warning shots into the air as residents fiercely resisted being forced out of their houses said to have been built on illegally-acquired land.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) yesterday said in a statement that one of the 10 residents had sustained injuries during the police raid.

Kumbirai Mafunda, however, said his organisation had successfully lobbied police to allow the victim, Tarisai Marikopo, to be treated at Harare Central Hospital albeit under police guard while the nine others remain in custody.

“Lawyers have raised several complaints against the police who assaulted the Epworth residents when their houses were being demolished by authorities.

“ZLHR is worried that Zimbabwe’s local municipalities are the latest addition to the pillars against good governance and the rule of law after Chitungwiza Town Council and Epworth Local Board wantonly demolished people’s houses without any enabling legal provisions”

Chitungwiza residents have since vowed to continue with their resistance campaign arguing that the local authorities were acting outside the law as their evictions were not backed by a court order as dictated by the law.

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