The Movement for Democratic Change says police have cordoned off Harare, making it impossible for the party to stage planned protests over the deteriorating economic situation in the country.
Speaking to reporters outside the High Court where the party was seeking permission to stage the protests after the police revoked some provisions of the Public Order and Security Act to stop the public march in the city, MDC lawyers and party officials said state security agents had sealed off the city and surrounding areas.
One of the attorneys representing the party, Tendai Biti, who is also MDC vice president, said it would have been impossible to even stage the march if the High Court had granted it permission to take to the streets.
“The High Court ruled that we should go to the magistrates’ courts in this matter but we believe that we can’t do that at the moment … Even if we had been granted permission, the state has cordoned off Harare … Our headquarters are totally cordoned off too. This is a fascist government that does not have the respect of Zimbabweans,” said Biti.
Party spokesperson Daniel Molokele said as a result of the right security situation in Harare, residents are urged to stay indoors.
“Stay at home and be safe. We are proceeding with the protest next week. We are not backing down the struggle continues.”
Molokele said, “The High Court has referred the people's lawyers application against the police prohibition order back to the Magistrates courts. The people's lawyers have decided not to go to the Magistrates Courts. The people's lawyers have expressed total shock and respectfully think the judgment was riddled with political interference by the junta.
“ln the meantime, heavily armed police have cordoned off all the major roads leading into the city centre. The junta has also deployed a huge police contigent at both the Africa Unity Square and the MDC headquarters. This effectively means that the junta has now forcibly declared a total shutdown of Harare today. So for now the people must remain calm, avoid any form of violence and stay safely at home.”
He noted that the time has come for the people of Zimbabwe to take charge of their future and democratic destiny.
Indications are that police have been blocking people from going to the Harare Central Business District amid claims by the MDC that at least 15 people were arrested in Mabvuku and a large number of other residents in different parts of Harare.
ln the meantime, the preparations will continue for the other already planned people's marches to be held at Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and Masvingo.
Police were not available for comment.