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Ambassador Says France Not Involved in Zimbabwe Protests

FILE: Police vehicles and water canons parked on the outskirts of the city following a job boycott started via social media platforms, in Harare, Wednesday, July,6, 2016. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

French Ambassador Laurent Delahousse has dismissed as ridiculous reports that France and some developed countries, are behind the social unrest that Zimbabwe has been experiencing, including last week’s mass stay away.

Ambassador Delahousse told VOA Studio 7 calling for protests and inciting citizens to cause violence is not part of his mandate, adding that since his posting to Zimbabwe, he has been pre-occupied with presenting the country as a viable destination to French investors.

He said the Zimbabwean government should be pre-occupied with bringing perpetrators of police brutality as evidenced by videos and pictures circulating on social media, to book, instead of making baseless accusations against his country.

In a statement released by the Delegation of the European Union to Zimbabwe, earlier today, the E.U representatives castigated the violence and human rights abuse in the aftermath of the protests, calling for respect for the right to peaceful demonstration as enshrined in Section 59 of Zimbabwe’s constitution.

Human rights activist and church leader, Rev Useni Sibanda, said blaming what government has been calling a ‘third force’, is to ignore citizens’ collective frustration and anger over bad governance, corruption and widespread poverty.

Zimbabwe has been hit by social unrest and protests over the past recent weeks by many social groups including informal traders, public transport operators and civil servants.

In the meantime, another shutdown has been called for Wednesday and Thursday while the MDC –T Women’s League is calling for a #beatthepot Saturday protest against hunger.