Peo­ple in­jured, prop­erty dam­aged in Harare demon­stra­tions

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Free­man Razemba

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.

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