Freedom to protest

via Freedom to protest 12 November 2014 by Jera

The constitution provides for freedom of protest. Itai Dzamara and a handful of other citizens staged a peaceful sit-in, dubbed ‘occupy Africa Unity Square,’ demanding ‘an end to Zimbabwe’s cycle of failure.’ But the police commissioner may not have been issued with a copy of the new constitution.

Dzamara was so badly beaten by riot police that he fell unconscious. Kennedy Masiye, a lawyer with Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, produced his certificates, indicating that he was Dzamara’s legal counsel. The police were unimpressed. In these parts, where nothing makes sense, anyone can forge a degree! They thumped him too. If the police can beat an unarmed man into a stupor, one shudders to imagine the sort of force they reserve for hardened criminals. Contrast the ZRP’s brutality on Dzamara to the virtual tour guides that they become when meekly escorting the war vets protest marches.

In a place where things make sense, there would have been an apology from the commissioner. Instead, what followed were further acts of police barbarism. At a dancehall concert held at the City Sports Centre, police fired teargas – indoors – causing a stampede which left several injured.

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