Court acquits first batch of protesters

HARARE - Seven people have been acquitted of committing public violence crimes during anti-government protests.

The six Chinhoyi residents, namely: Obey Zirota aged 37 years, Simbarashe Mubaira Kuenda, 25, Mini Bizabani, 41, Owen Musariranwa, 48, Basil Nhira, 19 and Adonai Tiriwawi, 22 — who were represented by Tinashe Jore of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) — were acquitted on Thursday at the close of State’s case by Chinhoyi Magistrate Letwin Rwodzi-Machakaire after she ruled that there was no evidence presented in court by the State linking the accused persons to the commission of the alleged offence.

During trial, prosecutors alleged that the six residents on January 15 and at Christos Shopping Centre located along the Chinhoyi-Chegutu highway, unlawfully and forcibly disturbed the peace, security or order of the public by erecting some barricades along the road, threw stones at passing vehicles, attacked police officers, who were manning a roadblock, burnt tyres and destroyed some equipment, which was being used by ZRP officers at a roadblock. 

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