Demonstrations: More fire, urges MDC-T

THE opposition MDC-T party has called for the resignation of President Robert Mugabe amid violent demonstrations around the country as economic hardships blamed on government incompetence worsen.

Protests constitutional ... MDC-T spokesman Obert Gutu

Protests constitutional … MDC-T spokesman Obert Gutu

Harare police on Monday fired teargas and water cannon in an attempt to quell rioting by minibus drivers and others protesting against what they describe as police harassment.

The unrest followed violent demonstrations at the Beitbridge border post last Friday.

Addressing a press conference in the capital Monday, MDC-T spokesman Obert Gutu Zimbabweans “to rise and demand their rights as peaceful demonstrations are constitutional and must continue”.

“Zimbabweans reserve their right to petition and demonstrate peacefully. We in the MDC support any sector that is embarking in peaceful demonstrations,” he said.

“As a party, we urge all our members to join any legitimate demonstration that is meant to bring pressure on this regime.

“On our part, we shall continue to mobilize Zimbabweans against this government, which must resign because it has failed the people of Zimbabwe.”

During Monday’s chaos, protesters blocked roads leading into central Harare, forcing many people to walk up to 10km to get to work. Rioters threw stones at police and vehicles, and some children on their way to school were caught up in the chaos.

Outnumbered police later sought to negotiate with the crowds after failing to disperse thousands of protesters, who were concentrated in the eastern suburbs of Harare.

Many rioters were young men unable to find regular employment who make a living by charging drivers a small fee to load passengers into minibuses.

Said Gutu: “The crisis in the country is worsening every day and the deteriorating situation demands nothing less than the resignation of President Robert Mugabe and his government.

“We strongly believe that it is the right of every Zimbabwean to demonstrate and petition and enshrined in section 59 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“That is why as a party, we began public demonstrations in Harare on 14 April and proceeded to hold similar protest marches in Bulawayo and Mutare.

“We have got a roll-out programme for all the provinces while in the meantime we will support every march, every petition and every demonstration aimed at exposing this government for failing to resolve the burgeoning national crisis.”

Meanwhile, rights group Amnesty International has condemned the “police crackdown and brutal use of force against protesters”.

“The deplorable use of force by the police against protesters amounts to human rights violations under the country’s international and domestic laws,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa.

“Police must comply with international standards governing the use of force in policing protests.

“Authorities must launch an independent and impartial investigation into the conduct of the police officers who are found to have used unnecessary force against protesters.

“Police must stop using force to suppress dissenting voices.”

 

ZUNDE Supports Citizen Action
Zimbabwe: Investigate police crackdown and brutal use of force against protesters

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