Police ruthlessly crush MDC demo

Source: Police ruthlessly crush MDC demo – DailyNews Live

Blessings Mashaya  13 July 2017

HARARE – Harare was turned into a war zone yesterday as police fought
running battles with angry MDC youths who had gathered in the capital to
demonstrate against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)’s alleged
failure to implement electoral reforms.

Yesterday’s trouble started after MDC youths marched to Zec offices,
prompting police to try and stop them. This forced panicking security
chiefs to deploy water cannons with their newly-acquired vehicles, which
produce fumes of tear smoke.

The police managed to disperse the youths at corner Julius Nyerere and
Nelson Mandela, but they regrouped and proceeded with their march to Zec
offices, where they were once again confronted by more truckloads of
heavily-armed riot police who indiscriminately fired teargas, thereby
disrupting business in the Central Business District (CBD).

It is here, where all hell broke loose, as the protesters gathered an
assortment of weapons, including stones, and started fighting back
tenaciously against the police – triggering more than an hour of violent
clashes that engulfed the CBD.

The youths were further pegged back by water cannons, resulting in the
determined demonstrators retreating and re-grouping at corner Park Street
and Nelson Mandela.

For more than an hour, the clashes caused chaos in central Harare and
people were left stranded as law enforcement agencies randomly fired
teargas, with the youths burning card boxes to block the passage of police

The violent clashes caused most shops along Nelson Mandela Avenue,
Chinhoyi Street and Angwa Street to temporarily close, as tear gas filled
the air – disrupting both traffic and business in the city centre.

MDC youth assembly chairperson Happymore Chidziva said his constituency
was ready to die while defending their vote.

“We are not going allow Zec to destroy our future. We are going to defend
and demand electoral reforms; if it means killing us, they will kill all
Zimbabweans because we are now determined.”

Zec has been accused of manipulating elections in favour of Zanu PF. The
electoral management body denies the allegations.

MDC youth assembly secretary-general Lovemore Chinoputsa blamed the police
for allegedly provoking the youths.

“The MDC-T youth assembly condemns police brutality to innocent youths;
heavily armed police officers brutally crushed our peaceful demonstration
in Harare CBD and in the process also harassed journalists covering our
demonstration. We witnessed the cruel spraying and water cannoning of
innocent people, which we wish to condemn in the strongest of terms.

“We hereby call for the immediate resignation of police boss who continues
to preside over a grouping of people who have no respect for the
Constitution of the land. We will in due course petition the relevant
bodies and the courts of the land to ensure that we implement our demand.

He further said, “It is sad to note that under the watch of Chihuri, the
Zimbabwe Republic Police has continued to act as agents of Satan by
continuously harassing Zimbabweans to the levels that would make even the
notorious Nazi Special Forces green with envy. It is sad that the same
ruthless tactics used by a racist Smith regime are being used by our own
black government 37 years after Independence.

“Chihuri has shown beyond doubt that he is not capable of transforming our
police into a 21st century police service that respects the rule of law
and people’s democratic right to demonstrate. No amount of fear and
harassment will break our determination to push for the levelling of the
electoral playing ground.”

Police spokesperson Charity Charamba was not taking calls from the Daily
News yesterday while her deputy, Paul Nyathi, was locked in meetings.