Zimbabwe

Anti-Mugabe protests fizzle out amid high police presence

2016-09-17 17:30
President Robert Mugabe. (File: AFP)

President Robert Mugabe. (File: AFP) (Robert Mugabe )

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Harare - A planned mass demonstration against Zimbabwe's veteran president Robert Mugabe failed to kick off in the capital Harare on Saturday, as riot police patrolled the streets to enforce a protest ban.

A coalition of opposition parties under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) had planned country-wide demonstrations demanding reform ahead of the 2018 election, when 92-year-old Mugabe plans to stand again.

But a month-long protest ban and a heavy police presence saw the event fizzle out before it started, with just small groups of activists demonstrating in the surburbs.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, which is part of Nera, said people were intimidated and told not to participate in the protest.

"The people were threatened by police and people in plain clothes. They were told, 'We will beat you up and you will disappear if you embark in the demonstrations'," said MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu.

Police this week issued an order barring protests in the capital.

Campaigners said they would challenge the ban through the courts, which had overturned a similar order earlier this month.

'Reckless' rulings 

Mugabe has vowed a crackdown on dissent and blasted judges for "reckless" rulings allowing previous demonstrations.

But in the second city of Bulawayo, close to a thousand protesters staged a peaceful march on Saturday after a high court ruling gave them permission to take to the streets.

Police stood by with armoured vehicles and water cannons.

"All we are demanding is that we want a free, fair and credible election," MDC deputy president Thokozani Khupe told the crowd.

"We are drawing a line in the sand and we are saying never again will we allow an election to be held where elections will be rigged."

Mugabe's Zanu-PF party won the last general elections in 2013, which were marred by electoral fraud.

Opposition to the ageing leader's 36-year rule has grown in recent months with a surge of public demonstrations, triggered by an economic crisis that has left banks short of cash and the government struggling to pay its workers.

Mugabe has often used brutal force to silence his opponents and warned the protesters last week they were "playing a dangerous game".

Unemployment is about 90% in Zimbabwe, which has been in the grips of a cash shortage worsened by a severe regional drought.

Read more on:    mdc  |  zanu-pf  |  robert mugabe  |  obert gutu  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  zimbabwe protests

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

SHARE:

Inside News24

 
/World

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.