Zimbabwean police on Wednesday clashed with former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party supporters who were protesting against police brutality. About 60 people were arrested in the public protest.
Business came to a standstill in Harare following a protest against alleged police brutality that was organized by the youth wing of the MDC-T.
The youths, who marched from their party’s Harvest House headquarters, clashed with police near parliament resulting in the protestors throwing stones and other missiles at the police who retaliated by firing teargas and used water cannons and gunshots to disperse them.
Freelance journalist Lucy Yasini was also beaten by the police during the skirmishes. The protestors intended to submit a petition to Home Affairs Minister Ignatious Chombo but failed to do so as a result of the clashes.
Chairperson of the MDC-T’s Youth Assembly, Happymore Chidziva, who addressed the protesters before taking to the streets, said time has now come to face President Robert Mugabe’s administration head on for allegedly failing to run Zimbabwe.
The youth wing’s general secretary, Lovemore Chinoputsa, also complained that Mr. Mugabe had failed to provide the 2.2 million jobs that he promised before his re-election in 2013.
Chidziva warned the police against using maximum force on protesters saying their duty was to protect citizens.
During the protests, a number of cars, including a police vehicle and another one belonging to the state broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, were set on fire.
At the same time, Choppies supermarket owned by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko was looted.
Police spokesperson Charity Charamba told Studio 7 by phone that more than 60 people were arrested in connection with the protest.
At the time of going on air, there were some running battles between police and some of the protestors while military police had been deployed in the streets of Harare.
An army helicopter was also seen flying around the central business district.
Today’s protests came at a time when opposition parties have announced that they would stage more peaceful marches in Harare on Friday to demand key electoral reforms ahead of the 2018 elections.