A group of Zimbabwean human rights lawyers have asked the country’s high court to take urgent action to halt a renewed campaign by police and local authorities to evict residents of a Harare township from shelters they rebuilt following the government’s May-July slum-clearance drive which left hundreds of thousands homeless.
Some observers say the latest action is a resumption of Operation Murambatsvina, or “Drive Out Trash,” which was later documented in a damning United Nations report.
Parallel to this, the country’s embattled informal sector has also felt renewed pressure with some 15,000 street vendors arrested in the past two weeks.
Witnesses said police with rifles, shields and dogs went to Tsiga Ground Number Five, an open space originally intended for recreational activities, and ordered families that had rebuilt shanties there to leave or see their dwellings bulldozed.
Sources said the country’s home affairs minister, the national commission of police, and the commission governing the city of Harare were notified of the development.
Reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe spoke with executive director Arnold Tsunga of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who said that the appeal was lodged with the high court after a magistrate refused to hear it.
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