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100 Arrested Protesters Appear in Court as Legal Officials Join National Stay Away

  • Thomas Chiripasi

More than 100 people, who staged protests in Harare on Monday, appeared before a Harare magistrate facing public violence charges.

At the same time, there was chaos at the courts as some court officials heeded the call for a national stay-away.

Magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe remanded them in custody to Thursday pending continuation of their bail application.

Lawyers representing the accused persons told the court that the police severely assaulted the accused persons, who were demonstrating in the two suburbs against numerous police road blocks, and set dogs on them.

Some of the accused persons had blood-stained clothes while others could not walk on their own when they appeared in court. The defense lawyers also argued that some the accused persons were minor children who should be immediately released.

The magistrate ordered those who were injured to be taken to hospital pending continuation of the case tomorrow.

One of the defense lawyers Obey Shava said the accused persons were subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment while in police custody.

In another before the courts, the leader of the newly formed Viva Zimbabwe political party, Acie Lumumba, who was arraigned for allegedly undermining the authority of the president, was granted bail of $400 and ordered to surrender his travel documents as well as to report to the police every Monday.

His attorney, Ashiel Mugiya said he will take Lumumba’s case to the Constitutional Court. Lumumba is accused of using the f-word on President Robert Mugabe when he announced the formation of his political party.

Meanwhile, some courts in Harare could not hear several cases as some court officials heeded the call to join the ongoing national job stay-away.

The stay-away resulted in some matters being postponed while some people failed to attend court sessions, resulting in local magistrates to issue them warrants of arrest to many accused people who are on bail as well as witnesses.

Some of the people, who stayed away from their work stations, like Fibion Chadahuna said they would not return to work until President Mugabe resigns.