Chaos as Mugabe supporters disrupt parliament

2011-07-23 13:39

Supporters of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party disrupted a parliamentary committee meeting on a proposed human rights bill in Harare today, forcing legislators to call in riot police.

“We had no option but to cancel the hearing. There was too much chaos. It’s unbelievable,” said Misheck Marava, who chairs the Thematic Committee on Human Rights of the Zimbabwean parliament.

Some 300 Zanu-PF supporters tried to force their way into the public hearing. “We cannot allow this to go ahead. Our colleagues outside have to come in,” said one of the Zanu-PF supporters before attacking member of parliament Robert Tshuma.

“That man was not singing the national anthem. What kind of an MP can’t sing our own song? Leave now,” she said.

The woman head-butted Tshuma, assisted by other Zanu-PF supporters. They then dragged Tshuma out of the parliamentary building.

Outside, journalists were also attacked before riot police dispersed the crowd. “Why are they recording us? We will destroy their equipment,” a Zanu-PF supporter said.

The Zanu-PF supporters chanted slogans attacking Mugabe’s main rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, saying his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party was a front for whites and the West.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Bill is part of democratic reforms that Mugabe and Tsvangirai agreed to in 2008 when they signed a power-sharing agreement.

Zanu-PF favours elections this year, but Tsvangirai insists key political reforms must first be implemented.

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