People injured, property damaged in Harare demonstrations
SCORES of people among them a policeman were injured in Harare yesterday while property including vehicles worth thousands of dollars were damaged after shadowy groups, civil society organisations and MDC-T supporters ran amok during demonstrations against bond notes and unemployment.
Police have since arrested three people in connection with the violent clashes as investigations continue.
By last night, several people were still reporting at Harare Central Police Station that they had been attacked during the demonstrations.
The policeman who was attacked while coming out of a bank, was stripped naked and lost his uniform and shoes.
Among the people who were believed to have been fuelling the violence during the demonstrations yesterday were Acie Lumumba of VIVA Zimbabwe, Tajamuka/ Sesjikile spokesperson Promise Mkhwananzi, Transform Zimbabwe president Jacob Ngaribvume and members of the Zimbabwe Coalition for Unemployed Graduates (ZCFGU).
According to police, there were at least 4 000 people from these groups who caused mayhem in the city yesterday.
Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said the groups had joined hands to demonstrate following a court order giving them the green light to do so.
“What is disturbing is that according to their application through the court, they had said they would carry out a peaceful demonstration, but they ran amok and damaged property, cars and injured innocent people at the same time. Police were operating under difficult circumstances since there were about 4 000 people,” she said.
Snr Asst Comm Charamba said the group first went to the New Government Complex where they wanted to hand over a petition to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Patrick Chinamasa.
They all demanded to enter the complex, but police would not allow them all since the complex houses several ministries and Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s offices.
Ngaribvume and one of his colleagues were allowed to enter and deliver the petition.
It is reported that on their way from the complex to the Parliament Building, the group became violent and started throwing stones and attacking people who were going about their business.
“Police had to move in and disperse them. They also chased a police officer who was coming from a bank and undressed him, taking his uniform and shoes.
“During the process three people were arrested and one of them was found with the police officer’s shoes in his bag,” Snr Asst Comm Charamba said.
She said the group later went and stoned a police post along First Street and a car that was parked nearby.
A police vehicle was also stoned during the demonstrations.
The groups had been sending unsolicited text messages, e-mails and posts on social networks such as Facebook in the hope of getting Zimbabweans to engage in demonstrations against the Government.
Our Harare Bureau witnessed various cars being stoned along Sam Nujoma Street and some of the service stations and shops along the road were temporarily closed.
People queuing at some of the banks in the city were also chased away.
Some of these youths could be seen provoking the police while holding stones, which they later used to attack the officers who had been deployed to maintain law and order.
Police had, however, been heavily deployed to ensure the safety of citizens who were doing their business.