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Zimbabwe Police Crush Peaceful Protest Over Bond Notes

Itai Dzamara with an injured member of Tajamuka-Sesijikile Campaign after they were forced to flee by the police.
Itai Dzamara with an injured member of Tajamuka-Sesijikile Campaign after they were forced to flee by the police.

Police on Wednesday clashed with anti-government protesters in Harare’s central business district, leaving several people injured.

A large number of Tajamuka-Sesijikile Campaign members gathered in downtown Harare holding flowers and carrying placards while singing revolutionary songs.

The demonstrators demanded President Robert Mugabe’s immediate resignation for allegedly failing to run the affairs of Zimbabwe.

One of the protest leaders, Promise Mkwananzi, said it was worrisome that the government was failing to pay its workers and address the cash crisis in local banks.

Another prominent activist, Sten Zvorwadza, told the demonstrators that Mr. Mugabe’s government has misplaced priorities.

Another demonstrator, Happymore Chidziva, leader of the MDC-T’s Youth Assembly, said Mr. Mugabe has failed to provide the 2.2 million jobs that he promised prior to his re-election in 2013.

Chidziva said because of his advanced age, President Mugabe was no longer able to lead the country properly and should immediately step down.

Zvorwadza added that the protestors had to seek a High Court order for their march to proceed after the police had barred them from demonstrating.

When the protestors started marching to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe where they intended to submit their petition over the worsening cash shortages, heavily armed anti-riot police pounced on them resulting in the protestors running in different directions.

Some of the angry demonstrators pelted police officers with stones resulting police firing teargas and usingwater cannons to disperse them.

Mkwananzi told Studio 7 by phone after the protest that more than 15 people were injured during the clashes. Those injured include secretary of the MDC-T youth assembly, Lovemore Chinoputsa, and freelance journalist James Jemwa, who reportedly sustained a deep cut on his head.

Meanwhile, political commentator Sidney Chisi, director of the Youth Initiative for Democracy in Zimbabwe told Studio 7 that the today’s heavy-handedness of the police shows that President Mugabe’s government is in panic mode.

Tajamuka says it will escalate the protests until Mr. Mugabe leaves office.