Police crush bond notes demo

Source: Police crush bond notes demo | The Financial Gazette November 30, 2016

THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) on Wednesday deployed police details that far outnumbered protestors, swiftly crushing the demonstration against the introduction of bond notes in central Harare.

The protests were organised by several pressure groups led by #Tajamuka, a grouping of youths that have had several run-ins with authorities in recent months.

Opposition political parties coalescing under the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA), had also given notice of their intention to participate in the demo which police had refused clear, but there was no sign of their presence.

Instead, just a few dozens of #Tajamuka activists picketed along Harare’s busy Nelson Mandela Street around midmorning and started toy toying, attracting a swift response from the ZRP, which deployed truckloads of truncheon wielding riot cops numbering at least three times more than the demonstrators.

Sensing danger, the protesters quickly melted away into the crowds and later made sporadic appearances elsewhere in thinner pockets, co-ordinated by what appeared to be choreographed whistles.

But each time that happpened, police trucks furiously drove through the busy streets of the capital, sending pedestrians scurrying to safety, while mystified motorists swearing.

By around midday, order had returned to the city centre as police took control of the situation.

By lunchtime, the capital city, Harare, which has been the centre of deadly running battles in recent months, as police cracked down on rioters, had calmed, with shops and other ventures opening for business.

Traffic was flowing smoothly, while vendors and pedestrians went about their daily routines without incident.

However, #Tajamuka activists still claimed the demonstration was a success.

#Tajamuka national co-ordinating committee member, Hardlife Mudzingwa, said the demonstration was not the monumental flop that it appeared to be.

“We do not measure success of an event just by the expected results; there are so many other aspects we are looking at to say it succeeded. For example, the ZRP deployed its officers at predawn to take positions at all strategic areas and intimidate people. So for us, it is a success when government commits so many resources to fighting us,” he said.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) spokesman, Obert Gutu, also said the protests succeeded.

“The demo was very successful until it was ruthlessly and unlawfully crushed by the police. This is the homestretch for the crumbling, paranoid and bankrupt ZANU-PF regime. Of course, the regime is terribly afraid of the people.This explains why the regime has deployed so many armed police officers and secret service operatives onto the streets of Harare,” said Gutu.

Interestingly, national police spokesperson, Charity Charamba, said she did not know that police officers were on the ground.

“I do not know what was happening. I was away at some function and I don’t know what took place or what was supposed to take place,” she said.

The demonstration comes as government fast-tracked the introduction of bond notes in the country despite a major public outcry. Government argues that bond notes are a temporary solution to a devastating liquidity crises ripping through the tottering Zimbabwean economy.