ZPP Demands Probe On Police Attacks On Protesters

Tuesday, 28 February 2017  Radio VOP

HARARE – The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) has called on the country’s rights commission and the police force to investigate and possibly discipline police officers who carried out a brutal attack on a group of peaceful protesters in Harare weekend.

The protesters, who included prominent rights activist Linda Masarira, were beaten up by anti-riot police while sitting on the grounds of Parirenyatwa hospital protesting the holding of President Robert Mugabe’s birthday bash while the country’s health situation suffered.

Masarira is among the activists who were targeted for police abuses and was left hospitalised for swollen thighs, back and legs.

Five police officers pounced on her using baton sticks and clenched fists all over her body, it is reported.

Police arrested the protesters, who included Masarira’s 17 year-old son before detaining them at Harare Central police station and later releasing in the evening after making them pay fines for “criminal nuisance”.

But ZPP condemned the acts, which it said were in violation of the country’s laws which guarantee the right to demonstrate.

“The Zimbabwean constitution guarantees the right to demonstrate or petition. The police are expected to defend these freedoms and not to trample on them,” said the rights group in a statement.

“It is the duty of the state to ensure that the police do not infringe on the rights of citizens and the ZPP calls on the Human Rights Commission and the police to investigate the officers who were involved in this brutal attack which serves nothing but to blemish the already questionable human rights record of the government.”

Zimbabwean doctors in the country’s public hospitals downed tools over a week ago demanding a hike in their allowances and better working conditions.

While ordinary Zimbabweans felt the pinch following the industrial action, President Mugabe threw a birthday party in Matebeleland South’s Matopo area where millions were spent on food, transport, entertainment and other logistics. 

Mugabe’s loyalists have defended the 93 year-old leader’s lavish spending on a single occasion while the majority suffered.

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