Zimbabwean Police Are Using Violence to Disperse Peaceful Protesters
Authorities in Harare are allegedly enforcing a ban issued by the country's High Court on anti-government protests.
Yesterday, the Zimbabwean police announced that they were issuing an order banning the anti-government protests organized by the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Currently led by Nelson Chamisa, the MDC attempted to file an appeal with the High Court to have the ban revoked but failed. Although the party then called off the intended protests early this morning, there were already scores of MDC supporters who had turned up in the central business district of Harare today. They were subsequently dispersed with tear gas, water canons and beaten by the police, TimesLive reports.
The MDC's deputy leader, Tendai Biti, has described the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) government under the leadership of President Emmerson Mnangagwa as "fascist", according to the BBC. Biti added that, "The constitution guarantees the right to demonstration...yet this fascist regime has denied and proscribed this right to the people of Zimbabwe."
A protester, who was injured during the dispersal of the crowd, told the AFP that, "This is worse than during colonial times. We aren't armed but the police just beat us while we are sitting on the street."
Zimbabwe has been facing endless political and economic turmoil that has resulted in increasing levels of poverty, unemployment, an unstable currency, shortages in food and fuel coupled with exorbitant prices of the little that is at times available. Earlier this year in January, hundreds of Zimbabweans took to the streets in a nationwide shutdown to protest Mnangagwa's rule after he announced crippling fuel hikes.