Police ruthlessly crush MDC demo

HARARE - Harare was turned into a war zone yesterday as police fought running battles with angry MDC youths who had gathered in the capital to demonstrate against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)’s alleged failure to implement electoral reforms.

Yesterday’s trouble started after MDC youths marched to Zec offices, prompting police to try and stop them. This forced panicking security chiefs to deploy water cannons with their newly-acquired vehicles, which produce fumes of tear smoke.

The police managed to disperse the youths at corner Julius Nyerere and Nelson Mandela, but they regrouped and proceeded with their march to Zec offices, where they were once again confronted by more truckloads of heavily-armed riot police who indiscriminately fired teargas, thereby disrupting business in the Central Business District (CBD).

It is here, where all hell broke loose, as the protesters gathered an assortment of weapons, including stones, and started fighting back tenaciously against the police — triggering more than an hour of violent clashes that engulfed the CBD.

The youths were further pegged back by water cannons, resulting in the determined demonstrators retreating and re-grouping at corner Park Street and Nelson Mandela.

For more than an hour, the clashes caused chaos in central Harare and people were left stranded as law enforcement agencies randomly fired teargas, with the youths burning card boxes to block the passage of police vehicles.

The violent clashes caused most shops along Nelson Mandela Avenue, Chinhoyi Street and Angwa Street to temporarily close, as tear gas filled the air — disrupting both traffic and business in the city centre.

MDC youth assembly chairperson Happymore Chidziva said his constituency was ready to die while defending their vote.

“We are not going allow Zec to destroy our future. We are going to defend and demand electoral reforms; if it means killing us, they will kill all Zimbabweans because we are now determined.”

Zec has been accused of manipulating elections in favour of Zanu PF. The electoral management body denies the allegations.

MDC youth assembly secretary-general Lovemore Chinoputsa blamed the police for allegedly provoking the youths.

“The MDC-T youth assembly condemns police brutality to innocent youths; heavily armed police officers brutally crushed our peaceful demonstration in Harare CBD and in the process also harassed journalists covering our demonstration. We witnessed the cruel spraying and water cannoning of innocent people, which we wish to condemn in the strongest of terms.

“We hereby call for the immediate resignation of police boss who continues to preside over a grouping of people who have no respect for the Constitution of the land. We will in due course petition the relevant bodies and the courts of the land to ensure that we implement our demand.

He further said, “It is sad to note that under the watch of Chihuri, the Zimbabwe Republic Police has continued to act as agents of Satan by continuously harassing Zimbabweans to the levels that would make even the notorious Nazi Special Forces green with envy. It is sad that the same ruthless tactics used by a racist Smith regime are being used by our own black government 37 years after Independence.

“Chihuri has shown beyond doubt that he is not capable of transforming our police into a 21st century police service that respects the rule of law and people’s democratic right to demonstrate. No amount of fear and harassment will break our determination to push for the levelling of the electoral playing ground.”

Police spokesperson Charity Charamba was not taking calls from the Daily News yesterday while her deputy, Paul Nyathi, was locked in meetings.

Comments (2)

Isn't it always amazing how they claim not to have enough police to man a peaceful demo but always have more than enough to beat people up and disperse them?

Zuze - 13 July 2017

Is this meant for ordinary unarmed peaceful protesters - I wonder? Is the govrrnment at war with its own people. This is more than Goliath going for David. Time shall come when shame will fall upon them.

Pythias Makonese - 14 July 2017

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