Protesters who had gathered in Harare awaiting the High Court verdict on the planned demonstration were violently dispersed by the police when they had started to sing and dance after permission to march was not granted.
MDC Alliance lawyers had lodged an application against the police prohibition order banning the demonstration. MDC Spokesperson Daniel Molokele said the lawyers had expressed total shock and were of the view that the judgment was riddled with political interference.
Meanwhile in Harare Central Business District, heavily armed police had cordoned off all the major roads leading into the city centre.
“The regime has also deployed a huge police contingent at both the Africa Unity Square and the MDC headquarters. The desperate efforts by the regime will NOT stop the people of Zimbabwe from expressing themselves in a peaceful manner. Preparations continue for the other already planned people’s marches in Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and Masvingo. The time has come for the people of Zimbabwe to take charge of their future and democratic destiny,” Molokele said.
On the streets of Harare, MDC youth leader, Cecilia Chimbiri, speaking to a NewsDay journalist said the youths would not be stopped by any form of harassment or intimidation but would continue with their protests until the government delivers on its promises for a better life for all.
On the other hand, the United States Embassy in Zimbabwe expressed its deep concern over the abduction, assault, and torture of civil society and opposition leaders in advance of today’s demonstration.
“The Government of Zimbabwe bears the responsibility to ensure the safety of its citizens under its constitution. We welcome the Zimbabwean government’s commitment to investigate these crimes and to bring those responsible to justice. We encourage those Zimbabweans who wish to seek redress before their government to do so peacefully.
“The ongoing polarisation in Zimbabwean society, as identified by the Motlanthe Commission and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, underscores the urgent need for a broad-based and inclusive national dialogue. Such a dialogue, coupled with political and economic reforms, holds the promise of a more prosperous and successful Zimbabwe,” the US Embassy said in a statement.