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Zimbabwe Police Block Public Protest Over Dzamara Assault

  • Thomas Chiripasi

Police in Zimbabwe disperse members of Occupy Africa Unity Square in Harare.

Police in Zimbabwe disperse members of Occupy Africa Unity Square in Harare.

Zimbabwean police on Tuesday blocked a demonstration that was organized by members of the Occupy Africa Unity Square (OAUS ) pressure group to protest against the assault of Patson Dzamara on Monday at the main independence celebrations held in Harare.

Police in anti-riot gear blocked members of Occupy Africa Unity Square, a pressure group led by missing activist Itai Dzamara, from protesting against the assault of the activist’s brother, Patson Dzamara, who staged a one-man demonstration during the main independence celebrations held in Harare.

Patson Dzamara was beaten by suspected state security agents while staging the demonstration at the National Sports Stadium where President Robert Mugabe was due to address thousands of people to mark the country’s 36th independence anniversary. He was holding a banner inscribed “Zimbabwe is independent but we are not free”.

OAUS coordinator, Dirk Frey, said members of his group were dispersed by heavily-armed police at the Africa Unity Square just outside parliament where they intended to protest against Dzamara’s beating in front of legislators who were making their way into parliament.

Occupy Africa Unity Square members seen in Harare on Tuesday.

Occupy Africa Unity Square members seen in Harare on Tuesday.

Another OAUS members, Charles Nyoni, said the bashing of Patson Dzamara and the abduction of his elder brother Itai last year was not expected in an independent country.

Patson Dzamara’s lawyer, Gift Mtisi, said his client was assaulted by unidentified people at the National Sports Stadium while protesting and was later handed to police who released him without any charges laid against him.

Mtisi said his client has a bruised face and had signs that he was beaten under his feet. Mtisi said Patsoin Dzamara is recuperating at home after he was treated at a local clinic.

Frey said his group is still worried by the state’s failure to locate Itai Dzamara more than a year after he was abducted by unknown people.

Frey urged the state to ensure that the country’s citizens were protected as stipulated in the country’s constitution.

Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said the police were not responsible for Patson Dzamara’s assault Monday, adding that they are also worried by the disappearance of his brother, Itai.

She added that she was not aware of today’s demonstrations that were organized by OAUS as the group had not sought permission from authorities to protest.

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