Police thrash protestors

HARARE - Heavily-armed riot police yesterday descended on hapless protesters who had gathered in Harare to march against the pending introduction of bond notes — leaving scores hospitalised as President Robert Mugabe’s panicking government cranks up its savage assault on dissenting voices in the country.

The brutal crackdown yesterday against vendors and pro-democracy groups that included radical pressure group Tajamuka/Sesjikile, came hard on the heels of similar recent ruthless action against war veterans and unemployed graduates — as calls for Mugabe and Zanu PF to resign from power mount.

But police spokesperson Charity Charamba also told the Daily News last night that some law enforcement agents had been injured in yesterday’s anarchy, a development which she blamed on “unruly elements”.

Police pounced on the protesters when they were still gathering at the Parkade Centre, deep in the capital’s central business district, where they intended to start their demo which was to end at Parliament, along Nelson Mandela Avenue.

So bad was the resultant commotion that one police officer was heard shouting “Rovai vanhu (beat those people up)”, as he pointed to a group of journalists covering the demo. The officer refused to reveal his name when he was asked to do so by the media.


Police beat up a protestor. Pics: Freedom Mashava

A freelance journalist Thomas Madhuku was injured in the mayhem which saw several shops closing and passers-by being caught in the “cross-fire”.

Initially, it was the churches who were scheduled to march, and it was not clear why they did not press on with their demo in the end — with riot police responding to the development by attacking and teargassing the demonstrators.

Angry protesters who spoke to the Daily News described the attacks by the police as “barbaric and unprovoked.

“Today’s incident of police once again beating up peaceful protesters, who are in turn offering them peace offerings, is quite disturbing,” said Sten Zvorwadza who leads the National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (Navuz) — and who was among the people who were severely assaulted by the police.

“I think the second batch of people who came in riot gear were not the police. I think they were State security agents, Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)) operatives who have no respect for citizens.

“All this notwithstanding, we will continue demonstrating. Tomorrow (today) we will be going to the Harare Central Police to give them flowers as a sign of love and peace. I am even willing to be carted to the police station in my hospital bed for demonstrating.

“The bond notes should be supported by the law as they are going to be a currency in circulation. As it is they are illegal,” Zvorwadza added.


A protestor offers a riot policeman flowers.

Tajamuka organising committee member, Happymore Chidziva, also slammed the government for its crackdown on citizens, saying Zanu PF had a “well-documented tendency of resorting to violence and intimidation when its hold on power is threatened”.

“Our message to Zimbabweans is that they should not be scared by this show of foolishness because the last days of a dictator are always desperate. We are going to demonstrate until Mugabe resigns and we are ready even to die because we have suffered for a long time while Mugabe and his top leadership are enjoying life.

“Police officers must join us because we are worried by their salary delays as well. They must stop beating us because we are fighting for their freedom as well. We are in a season of action. Mugabe’s time is over and we cannot wait while this madness continues,” Chidziva said.


Some elderly women who were part of the protesting crowd.

Mugabe and Zanu PF, in power for 36 uninterrupted years, are facing their biggest challenge to their rule, which ordinary Zimbabweans say has been disastrous.

The announcement of the imminent introduction of bond notes has caused panic among Zimbabweans as it has revived memories of the 2007 and 2008 economic catastrophes which were marked by severe food shortages and hyperinflation.

Some of the prominent people who have spoken against the bond notes include former Vice President Joice Mujuru, who has likened the bond notes to “useless toilet paper” and has since approached the courts to bar the government from issuing them.

However, the government seems unperturbed by the anti-bond notes calls, with the Reserve Bank saying it is “well on track” to unveil the bond notes in October despite the public’s resistance.

Yesterday’s police beatings also became a subject of heated debate in Parliament where speaker Jacob Mudenda blocked a motion to have a commission of inquiry against growing police brutality.



This happened after Kuwadzana East MP and MDC vice president, Nelson Chamisa, had raised the issue. But Mudenda demanded to be furnished with footages of police brutality and other material which he said Parliament needed to consider before he could allow the motion.

Please view more photographs of the protest on our pictures gallery.

 

Comments (28)

In all our next demos let us arm ourselves with knobkerries and catapults for self defence.

Madhebhura - 18 August 2016

Ngatipfekei masafety shoe tigokika mipimbira iyoyo.We have suffered long enough the time is now. Hatichatya,Tajamuka.

Marujata Watiuraya - 18 August 2016

These police officers think that they are an arm of zanu pf yet they are not this also is obvious from how chihuri conducts himself he is a true zanuist and thats why asingabvi kwa wimbo kumasowe nekugora

JAMUKOKO - 18 August 2016

these thugs masquedering as protesters must be dealt with,i am not a spokesman for the police but i would like to tell anyone who cares to listen that the police have only at this juncture used minimum force and will not hesitate to unleash brutal force against any malcontents,i urge the police to protect our investments and peace in this country by descending heavily on the troublemakers,we want peace and prosperity in this country which can only be guranteed by the iconic president cde mugabe ably assisted by the vp cde ED

truth - 18 August 2016

these thugs masquedering as protesters must be dealt with,i am not a spokesman for the police but i would like to tell anyone who cares to listen that the police have only at this juncture used minimum force and will not hesitate to unleash brutal force against any malcontents,i urge the police to protect our investments and peace in this country by descending heavily on the troublemakers,we want peace and prosperity in this country which can only be guranteed by the iconic president cde mugabe ably assisted by the vp cde ED

truth - 18 August 2016

I urge all the victims and other Zimbabweans to register and/or record these beatings by members of a police force that are taking illegal instructions to harass and violate the rights of peaceful demonstrators that they are supposed to protect. At some stage, this evidence will be used to seek justice and make the perpetrators account for their barbaric actions. In the interim, the UN should be petitioned to recall all members of the ZRP who are serving in peacekeeping operations in protest to the flagrant violation of the principles of freedom of expression in Zimbabwe. Invariably those posted to UN missions also happen to be the culpable blue eyed boys and girls who are usually rewarded for their loyalty with plum postings at UN missions abroad.

Jaikolu Maison - 18 August 2016

Ari kumbopiwa mariko iye mupurisa ari kurova vanhu vari kuda kuti zvinhu zvinakire tose.Iyo 500 dollars chete apa uri roja futi uchikwira mota dzevamwe.

chimuti - 18 August 2016

this truth shit must understand and appreciate that we have brains and are capable of causing serious harm to these dogs. Most of these dogs look so malnourished that they cannot withstand violence if we decide to deal with them. We used to respect their dirty and stinking uniforms but our respect has been mistaken for fear. We can crush them, their water canons and their HIV/AIDs infected bosses.

Chipoto Vhaivhai - 18 August 2016

truth your mother is a harlot who we used to fuck behind your home while your father was asleep. But I deny siring you because I cant sire a moron. Hamenowo benzi rakavamitisa.

Chipoto Vhaivhai - 18 August 2016

Truth is a cogitating nincompoop. Waste not your time on him. He is paid to infuriate us.

Viva Unidade - 18 August 2016

POLICE beat the living daylights out of these western sponsored idiots,if yu want fuel donations get in touch with me ,@viola gwena and @truth

jojo - 18 August 2016

As to the police, what do you expect when police recruits sing party political songs at their graduation? Who leads them, who trains them, who instructs them? At a time like this I am fully pursuaded that the whole lot must be fired when we attain our independence from the the Smith like dictatorship. We do not deserve such bruts, such murders in our police force. Ndatsamwa ini!

Viva Unidade - 18 August 2016

Truth, do not test our temper. If someone is protesting do you rush to beat him. If a child is asking his mother for food, does the mother rush to beat the child? FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Mai Muronzi - 18 August 2016

Where do these policemen sleep? Remove them from the townships by force. They must stay at State House, vachibikirwa naGrace Hure

ben Moyo - 18 August 2016

rovai vanhu

ISHE NEHOREKA - 18 August 2016

When I looked at the picture " Police beat up a protester" I nearly cried. Cried because it confirms my fears of of the ultimate direction my country is taking. Far from the reason behind the protest itself our identity as Zimbabweans is under threat. We are wide opening the door for outsiders to come in and run the country after which we will be foreigners in our own country. We cannot run away from the truth: the truth is the government of Robert Mugabe has failed us. Instead of admitting and then seek for a redress to people`s concerns and complaints Bob thinks crushing discent is the solution. This way he makes matters worse. People are not gonna be silenced because you have a strong police force. You know that very well Bob that a hard action yields no better results but a hardened reaction. Ian Smith did it and failed. You are also bound to fail dismally. This is not the Zimbabwe we fought for. Yes you may take such brutal moves to give time to your family to pack up but you will not rest in peace: you messed up, you have to sort it out.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 18 August 2016

Remember Gandhi!!!!! He achieved more through passive protest than others who countered violence with violence. Gandhi's principles will speed up our freedom and counter violence will justify repression.

Nooshie - 18 August 2016

I read a story about pagans . The top picture suits the story very well. When Mugabe flies to foreign countries he puts on a suit and tie it up at his neck to mask the paganism in him.

Bobby Sadza reZwiyo - 18 August 2016

@Nooshie. Its good to be wide in reading history but it takes clever people to compare the circumstances. You are such a duck good at swallowing what you read without questioning. Such idiocy is better kept to oneself other than being spurt at this forum at the time we are in. Are you Zimbabwean ? Do you know anything about Mugabe`s army and police ? If you are one of those Africans from some African countries who think Mugabe is good because they benefit its better you shut up. This is not a regime that will spare you because you are demonstrating peaceful. As long as you do not say PAMBERI NE CORRUPTION YE ZANU-PF you will be shamboked.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 18 August 2016

Remember Gandhi!!!!! He achieved more through passive protest than others who countered violence with violence. Gandhi's principles will speed up our freedom and counter violence will justify repression.

Nooshie - 18 August 2016

@nooshie,thank yu for proposing passive peaceful protests,thankyou also for maintaining your dignity even when the idiots masquedering as democrats provoke yu and rubbish yu,so intolerant of other peoples views they are ,but dont blame them,they are not democrats,they do not want to build from where the president has taken us,they are just dreaming of a karanga hegomony

truth - 19 August 2016

military rule is the order of the day in zimbabwe but may i warn you this will end one day .where is Mobuto ; Sadam Husein.

muchapera zanu pf - 19 August 2016

Munoziva here kuti ichasvika nguva yekuti aimbova pamusoro ndiye apasi aripasi ndiye apamusoro. Mwari ndewemunhu wese and muchawona chokwadi

joe - 19 August 2016

truth there can never be peace till we get a piece wat happened to our forty acres on the moon fool we aint stupid you trying to turn us young guns into soldiers you want us to fight your wars!What the Fuk am i fighting for .Dear Mr president these niggas acting up in the hood send more troops

joe - 19 August 2016

Mugabe and his thugs turning on citizens.You should be embarassed honestly Mr Mugabe.

Piedpiper - 19 August 2016

hatichada kubatwa kumeso. this anarchy perpetrated by the police has got to end. i think police officers are acting as hypocrites because they completely become inhumane once they report for duty. we can be violent if we want to. beating up of unarmed peaceful protesters is unheard of. zimbabwe is fed up and mugabe must go. mapurisa tichasangana hedu mumarounds. i am even willing to kill for this country.

real G - 19 August 2016

This is as a result of us being docile like donkeys .Policemen are not difficult to held bcoz they and their families live with us and we can ask them to go and stay in camps , Simple as that and we to stop being very docile .

Diibulaanyika - 19 August 2016

ngavarohwe vanhu avo varikujairira peace loving zimbabwean ngatiite demo yemaruva vakangotirova totojamuka zvachose

masvingo - 19 August 2016

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