Zimbabwean police today attempted, in vain, to disperse civil society activists set to camp for 16 days at Africa Unity Square, to press President Robert Mugabe’s government to tackle social and economic issues bedeviling the country.
The protesters vowed to stay put at Africa Unity Square for 16 days and 16 nights, saying the country’s constitution allows them to conduct public demonstrations.
This was despite the fact that police were in full riot gear and driving around Africa Unity Square near Parliament of Zimbabwe in armoured vehicles with water cannons.
Section 59 of Zimbabwe’s constitution clearly stipulates that every person has the right to demonstrate and to present petitions, but these rights must be exercised peacefully.
One of the protesters, Lynettee Mudewe, coordinator and founder of the Zimbabwe Activist Alliance, said they won’t allow the police to drive them from the renowned place.
Linda Masarira, leader and founder of Zimbabwe Women in Politics Alliance, added that some Zanu PF activists last night also tried to disrupt their protest.
The protesters today were demanding jobs saying the majority of Zimbabweans are currently struggling to make ends meet due to the harsh economic situation.
Musarira said some Zimbabweans youth don’t even know anything about getting a formal job even if they are highly educated.
These sentiments were echoed by Makomborero Haruzivishe, secretary general of the Zimbabwe Students Union, who noted that thousands of young people are being thrown into the job market every year in an economy that does not offer them any work.
The activists have different protest themes every day in an attempt to highlight most problems facing the nation.