Zvamaida Murwira, Harare Bureau
The Zimbabwe Republic Police yesterday arrested 91 people in and around Harare in connection with an illegal demonstration that was organised by the MDC-Alliance.
In a statement last night, police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the 91 were arrested for various offences arising from the illegal demonstration which the police had earlier on prohibited.
The High Court subsequently upheld the prohibition after it dismissed an application by the MDC-Alliance challenging the ban.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police informs the nation that following the issuance of a prohibition notice by the regulating authority for Harare Central District, the MDC-Alliance filed an urgent Chamber application with the High Court. The High Court ruled against the holding of the demonstration but the MDC-Alliance activists went on to gather at Africa Unity Square and other parts of Harare central business district in defiance of the court ruling.
Some of the youths went on to engage in confrontational acts which include threats, intimidation and disruption of the smooth flow of traffic in the CBD. The police moved in and dispersed the unlawful gathering. In the process, 91 people were arrested for various offences in Chitungwiza, Harare central business district and Harare South,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
He bemoaned online reports claiming that the police had shot into crowds, killing two people in the process.
“We have also noted with concern falsehoods by some online publications that the police shot into the crowd, killing two people which is false. No live rounds were used by the police. No one was shot or injured by police through firearms. The police are firm on the ground to ensure that law and order is maintained.
We are appealing to the members of the public to remain calm and peaceful. They should continue to conduct day to day activities in a peaceful manner. We want to assure our citizens that the police stand ready to protect Zimbabweans and visitors in line with its Constitutional responsibility. Let us be responsible and shun acts of violence, destruction, looting of property and disturbing business operations in the country,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
The police yesterday managed to contain some rowdy MDC-Alliance activities who tried to impose themselves at Africa Unity Square, the venue of the intended demonstration.
Most areas were, however, calm after the police asserted their authority by maintaining peace and order in various areas in Harare.
The Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services yesterday said no one died during the demonstrations while two people were injured.
One allegation of assault on a journalist Mr Fani Mapfumo was noted while another journalist Ms Memory Chamisa is said to have lodged a case of harassment.
Police immediately apologised and Ms Chamisa accepted.