Zim lawyers, activists fear brutal crackdown to last for months – report

2019-01-30 19:49
Anti-riot police stands on a truckload engaging in running battles with protestors in Emakhandeni township, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. (AFP)

Anti-riot police stands on a truckload engaging in running battles with protestors in Emakhandeni township, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. (AFP)

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Activists and lawyers in Zimbabwe have reportedly said that they feared that a brutal crackdown by state law enforcement agencies would continue as the authorities sought to crush all possible opposition to the ruling Zanu-PF party.

Angry protests against the government's drastic fuel price hikes provoked a harsh crackdown by police and military in which 12 have been killed and 300 wounded, scores by gunshot wounds, according to doctors and rights groups, reported Associated Press.

Long after the protests ended, the military clampdown continues with forces going house to house to carry out arbitrary arrests, beatings, torture, abductions and rapes, according to rights groups.

 Many opposition figures and civic leaders have gone into hiding.

 The crackdown continued this week, with witnesses, human rights groups and the opposition reporting abuses by the military, the police and ruling party gangs, especially in working class and poor suburbs across the country.

According to New Zimbabwe.com, activists and opposition lawyers have said they feared the crackdown would persist.

Hundreds of activists and opposition figures remained in hiding nearly two weeks after arbitrary arrests, beatings, rapes and abduction by police and soldiers were reported.

“This is not going to be over quickly. We have seen that the state has just notched up the oppression, and that is the level it is going to be operating at for the foreseeable future,” a Harare based lawyer and opposition figure David Coltart was quoted as saying.

Activists and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change have all agreed that the government was likely to up the repression until it was certain there was no longer any opposition in the country.

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