– But police crush new protest attempt

Source: – But police crush new protest attempt – NewZimbabwe 20/06/2016

POLICE reportedly attacked the just released Harare Africa Unity Square protestors as they tried to stage a new demonstration in the capital Monday evening.

Suspended Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni also visited the activists before the police swooped.

One of the protest leaders Promise Mkhwananzi confirmed the “brutal attack”, telling NewZimbabwe.com that activists injured during the ZRP crackdown were admitted at the Avenues Clinic.

Mkhwananzi said colleagues injured included Partson Dzamara, Linda Masarira, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Oliver Chikumba, Makomborero Haruziviishe, Pride Mkono and others.

Protest organiser, Linda Masarira, explained what happened in a statement.

“On Monday, the 20th of June, the activists who have recently been released on bail led the #5to6 programme in Dzamara Park (Africa Unity Square). We are very clear – we will not allow the state’s machinery of oppression to stop us doing our work,” she said.

“As we peacefully gathered at our usual spot, the comrades who have been incarcerated for 8 days at Harare Remand and Chikurubi prisons shared on their experiences.

“The general sentiment arising out of that is that the experiences have taught them a lot and bonded them closer as a group.

“We were joined by Harare’s mayor, His Worship Bernard Manyenyeni, and welcome his support for our cause. We also applaud his bravery for standing with us where many others are too afraid.

“As soon as we wrapped up our programme riot police in black uniforms approached from both sides, aggressively ordering us to lie on our stomachs.

“Dr Patson Dzamara attempted to reason with them, but they simply wanted to assault us. After keeping us for about half an hour, occasionally beating, they ordered us to leave and chased us out the park.

“Minor injuries were sustained and treated the same night.”

Masarira added: “It is clear that the strategy is no longer to disrupt our activities but to punish, in order to frighten fellow citizens and dissuade them from joining us.

“As for us, we are no longer afraid, and these violations merely anger us and steel our resolve. The legal procedure has begun and we will see the police in court.

“We will make sure to press charges for assault and any of the number of other ways they have broken the law.

“We will not tolerate a Zimbabwe where the police continue to be above the law and break it with impunity. Those days must come to an end.”

The activists had sought to resume their protests after being released from Harare Remand Prison last week following their arrest on robbery charges during their 16-day occupation of the square in the capital.

They were released from detention after a “Good Samaritan” who did not want to be identified paid their bail.

The activists accuse the police of stage-managing the claimed robbery in order to arrest them.

The courts imposed bail of between $500 and $1,000 which protesters failed to raise until the intervention of the “Good Samaritan”.

It was not immediately clear whether any arrests were made during Monday’s clashes with the police.

The activists had occupied the Harare park since May, protesting against “President Robert Mugabe’s misrule and failure to curb corruption” or create jobs for the youths, among a host of other grievances.

They have vowed to continue with the protests until Mugabe and his government step down.