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Zimbabweans Say Police Mishandling Ferguson Public Protests

Police officers point their weapons at demonstrators protesting against the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri August 18, 2014. Police fired tear gas and stun grenades at protesters on Monday after days of unrest sparked by the fatal sh

Observers say police in the midwestern U.S town of Ferguson, Missouri, have been mishandling public protests following the shooting to death of black teenager, Michael Brown, by a white policeman.

Zimbabwean commentators, political analyst Tafadzwa Musarara, and Human Rights Watch researcher, Dewa Mavhinga, said the shooting does not resonate well with most locals who have bad memories of police brutality in the country.

Mavhinga and Musarara said the police action after the shooting to death of Brown should be condemned.

In Harare, a magistrate on Tuesday ordered a full investigation into the assault of Movement for Democratic Change legislator, Ronia Bunjira, a freelance journalist and other activists who were arrested following the demonstration.

The freelance journalist and six MDC-T members were arraigned before a Harare magistrate facing charges of obstructing the free movement of vehicles and people following an opposition protest in which youths marched through the city’s central business district Monday demanding jobs from the Zanu PF government.

The accused persons told the court through their lawyer that they were severely assaulted while in police custody.

Public demonstrations in the past have been crushed by the police using the feared Public Order and Security Act that blocks any protests without seeking police clearance.

The streets of Ferguson in the USA were much calmer Wednesday night, following 11 days of unrest after a local white police officer shot and killed the unarmed black teenager.

The case has captivated international audiences around the world with newspapers like the state-controlled Herald newspaper castigating the United States for hypocrisy in failing to uphold the rights of black people in the country.

Demonstrators in the United States have been taking to the streets to voice anger at the August 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

On Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder met in Ferguson with community leaders and residents of the town, saying he has assigned the federal government's "most experienced agents and prosecutors" to the case.

Holder also spent time with Michael Brown's parents and promised them a "fair and independent inquiry" into the death of their son.

The United States has been criticized in newspapers around the world about the handling of the case.

The US State Department on Wednesday rejected criticism from Egypt as well as comparison of the police shooting in Ferguson to situations in Egypt, China or Zimbabwe that there are rights abuses in the United States.

Demonstrators shout "Hands up, don't shoot," in Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 20, 2014.
Demonstrators shout "Hands up, don't shoot," in Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 20, 2014.

​A grand jury investigating the fatal shooting of Brown has begun hearing evidence in the case. The grand jury will review evidence and determine whether to charge officer Darren Wilson in the death of the teenager.

Wilson is on paid leave as Brown's family and supporters are calling for his arrest.

For perspective, reporter Tatenda Gumbo speaks with Musarara and Mavhinga.

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