Human rights commission blasts violent protesters


Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has condemned the behaviour of some protesters during the recent 14 to 16 January protests that happened in some parts of the country .

This comes after violence broke out during the stay away which was called for by Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions resulting in barricading of roads and looting.

The Commission therefore urged the law enforcement agents to properly investigate and bring to book all the criminal elements behind the violence and looting.   

In a report, ZHRC said they interviewed residents who told them several roads were barricaded by protesters using various objects.

“Interviews with residents in and around Harare revealed that on the 14th of January 2019 around 8 and 9 AM, several roads were barricaded by protesters using various objects.

“The protesters also burnt tyres on the roads to stop police vehicles from patrolling.

The monitoring teams also observed evidence of barricades that had been mounted in the areas assessed such as burnt tarmacs and concrete slabs and stones that had been moved to the sides of the roads.

“Such acts are not only unlawful but a violation of several rights including the right to freedom of movement and as such are strongly condemned,” read part of the statement .

The report also noted that there was sporadic  looting and damage to property in several places around the country. 

“It was noted that a number of shops and properties were looted and damaged by protesters. At Makoni Police Station, the ZHRC noted that from the entrance the guard rooms of the police station had been set on fire and the windows had been broken by protesters.

“At least 6 cars and 3 buses in the yard of the police station were burnt. An additional 6 cars had been vandalized with most of the windscreens and windows shattered.

“The ZHRC monitors also visited Chitungwiza Town Centre and Mabvuku Complex where it was noted that there had been looting at Choppies Supermarkets and other shops.

“There was clear evidence of looting and destruction of property as the ZHRC observed broken window glasses and empty shops.

“At Mbudzi Roundabout in Hopley, it was noted that there was torching of a police base, police vehicles and a tollgate along Harare-Masvingo Road.

“Engagements conducted in Highfield at Machipisa shopping centre revealed that protesters vandalized and looted from shopping markets, Pick and Pay Supermarket, Machipisa and Zuva Service Station.

“ In Bulawayo, the Commission observed that protesters vandalized and looted Choppies at Sokusile, 3 shops at Entumbane Complex, Total Service Station, Entumbane and shops at Chicken Corner, Tshabalala.

“The ZHRC takes this opportunity to condemn in the strongest sense these acts of vandalism and wanton violation of human rights. These are criminal acts that should never be experienced in a modern, democratic, and free society,” the commission said.

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