Amnesty International says the arrest of Pastor Evan Mawarire of the #ThisFlag Campaign is a well-calculated plan to suppress freedom of expression and assembly.
“The arrest of Pastor Evan Mawarire appears to be a well-calculated plan to intimidate him and other activists ahead of the national shutdown organized for tomorrow in an attempt to suppress the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.
“Some 300 people have been arrested for participating in the peaceful protests in different parts of the country since they started last week. Instead of suppressing dissenting voices, Zimbabwean authorities should be listening to protesters like Evan Mawarire. They have a right under Zimbabwe’s constitution and international treaties ratified by Zimbabwe to express themselves, peacefully protest and defend their rights.”
The Zimbabwe Republic Police arrested Pastor Evan Mawarire on Tuesday after summoning him to the Criminal Investigation Department at Harare Central Police Station.
He has been charged with incitement to commit public violence under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act ahead of the national shutdown between 13 and 14 July 2016 against corruption and the declining economy.
About 300 people were arrested for protesting in different parts of the country after last week’s national shutdown.
Mawarire is working hand in hand with Tajamuka-Sesijikile Campaign and others in conducting anti-government protests in a nation ravaged by poverty and high unemployment.