Some Zimbabweans on Friday nearly manhandled Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo and some senior state officials on Friday on the sidelines of the Global Conference for Media Freedom held at Chatham House in London.
Irate protesters, demanding the release of Movement for Democratic Change vice chairperson Job Sikhala facing charges of subversion and other MDC activists, pushed and shoved some of the state officials before one of them splashed water on Moyo, who jumped into a Zimbabwe Embassy vehicle before it sped off.
A man identified as a security detail was also seen in a video that has gone viral brawling with the protestors singing revolutionary songs and demanding the release of Sikhala.
Panyika Karimanzira of Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe said the protesters, including women, reacted angrily after they were allegedly provoked by Moyo’s security details.
“One of the security details sparked the whole thing. People were provoked resulting in a conflict with Zimbabwean state officials,” said Karimanzira.
In a statement, the secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Nick Mangwana, blasted the protesters.
“Government condemns the violent attacks against the delegation by a group of opposition protesters outside Chatham House in London. It is tragic that the scepter of violence during protests, witnessed in Zimbabwe, which forces the security services to act, has reared its ugly head in foreign land, discrediting not the government, but the hoodlums themselves and embarrassing peace-loving Zimbabweans.
“The attacks have not, however, disrupted Minister S. B. Moyo’s successful engagements in the UK in any way … The government of Zimbabwe remains committed to peaceful dialogue with all parties, with a view to building the country around shared values, including the principles of respectful disagreement and nonviolence. Government affirms that right of Zimbabweans to protest, but to do so peacefully.”
At least 22 people, including Sikhala, are currently facing charges of subversion in Zimbabwe.