Tuesday, 23 August 2016

ONE DIES, 354 INJURED IN MUGABE PROTESTS

A Harare man died while 354 were injured during the multiple protests that have rocked the country since January this year, civil society organisations said in a report.


In the report, presented to the 36th Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) Heads of State and Government (HSG) summit, on the outlook of Zimbabwe since the end of the power-sharing government — between President Robert Mugabe and long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai — in July 2013, rights groups said they feared the escalating human rights violations in the country could destabilise the region.

Zimbabwe has witnessed nearly 40 civilian-led protests — mainly against 92-year-old Mugabe’s misrule — with protestors and opposition parties plotting more.

“The calls for reform have been met with State heavy-handedness and during the first two weeks of July 2016, civil society organisations (CSOs) recorded and assisted 161 victims of organised violence and torture after sustaining injuries in multiple incidents reported from Bulawayo, Harare, Epworth and Beitbridge,” the civic groups said in the report, adding that the country’s law enforcement actions warranted Sadc’s attention.

“…majority of the people were victims of random police brutality during and after public protests held across the country from Monday July 4 to 6, 2016.”

The HSG summit, to take place in Mbabane, Swaziland, from August 30 to 31, aims to tackle issues affecting Sadc member States.

According to the report’s tabulated statistics, a total 354 people were injured “in organised violence and torture” while a Harare man, Passmore Mazariro, “was allegedly shot and killed by police detectives on February 5, 2016”.
Contacted for comment, Police spokesperson Charity Charamba said she was in a meeting.

The CSOs said many injured in the protests were prevented from seeking medical assistance due to heavy police presence in the high density suburbs — both uniformed and in plain clothes.

They added that a number of the victims had no political or protest group affiliation, nor were they involved in the protests prior to being assaulted.

“Many were dragged from their houses after tear gas was fired into their rooms,” the organisations said.

“Secondly, uniformed police officers were involved in most of the incidents, and dogs were used indiscriminately to savage people who resisted being dragged to assault areas within the communities.”

The civil society, including the church, labour organisations and the private sector noted that on July 15, 2016, four members of National Vendors Union Zimbabwe sought medical and counselling assistance after they had been attacked by riot police in Harare.

“The vendors had marched on Town House to present their grievances to the city authorities,” the rights groups said.

“On July 6, 2016 — 25 victims of police brutality were injured after they had been assaulted by members of the police in Harare.
“The victims were attacked by the police during public protests in Mufakose and Budiriro high density suburbs.”

The rights groups further said that on the same day, 76 people sustained various injuries in Bulawayo after they were attacked by members of the police following public protests in Zimbabwe’s second biggest city.

“The figure included 43 minors who were affected by tear gas as the police indiscriminately fired tear gas into Burombo Residential Flats in the city to flush the victims out,” the civic groups said.

They went on to state that on July 4, 2016 — 41 people sought medical help after they had been severely assaulted by riot police in Epworth near Harare.

They added:  “On July 2, 2016, three youths from Harare were severely assaulted by a compound group of military police, ZRP, and CIO members in Beitbridge.”

“On June 30, 2016 a mainstream MDC youth activist was attacked by a group of Zanu PF youths in Mbare.

“The perpetrators informed him that he had been seen wearing MDC regalia the previous day. They used fists, open hands and booted feet.”

“The victim was struck with an iron bar….On June 27, 2016, a Zimbabwe People First party supporter was assaulted by Zanu PF youths in Glen Norah Harare.

“The victim was at a commuter omnibus rank when the perpetrators accused him of failing to attend Zanu PF meetings and for putting up posters for the People First rally that was held on June 25 in Harare. The perpetrators were briefly detained by the police and released.

“The same gang of Zanu PF youths went on to assault an MDC activist at the same place immediately after arriving from the police station. The victim was accused of being a sell-out by supporting the MDC party.

“On June 26, 2016, 8 residents of an informal settlement in Harare South Constituency were assaulted by a group of Zanu PF youths at a resident’s association meeting.

“The perpetrators warned the residents that they risked further attacks if they hold any meetings again.

“They stressed that Harare South was a Zanu PF territory and no meeting will be held in the area without their permission. The victims were attacked with fists, sticks, booted feet, stones and sticks, the chairs they were sitting on were burnt.” daily news

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