The international community has condemned the Government of Zimbabwe over its heavy handedness in dealing with peaceful protests that engulfed Harare on Friday.
This followed a court ruling which banned the planned protest from going ahead but demonstrators who were already on the ground, continued matching peacefully, and the police started beating them up.
In one spine chilling video clip police officers could be seen in an act of barbaric, taking turns to beat up an elderly woman who had fallen down in the stampede. The woman was assaulted heavily by police officers using baton sticks while lying down, until one senior police officer indicated that she be taken to safety.
One eyewitness who was close to the action said despite the ban, the people continued but, peacefully.
He told this publication, that others even conducted sit-ins, but the police advanced in attack resulting in stampedes.
Meanwhile, the international community, some using their diplomatic corps in the country have condemned the use of excessive force by the state, in dealing with the demos, which were indeed peaceful.
UK in Zimbabwe had the following to say; “Concerned at the images of the heavy handed response to disperse crowds in Harare.”
Canada in Zimbabwe, also expressed concern, saying; “Regrettably it would seem that the principles on policing assemblies set out by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights were not in evidence today on the streets of Harare.”
European Union in Zimbabwe, also added its voice; “Very worrying images from Harare CBD today, where the police heavy-handedly dispersed crowds of peaceful demonstrators.
“We call for restraint and proportionality, and for respect for the constitutional right to peaceful protest.”
United States of America Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs Assistant Secretary Tibor Nagy, also using his twitter handle said; “We condemn the excessive force the police used today against Zimbabweans who were seeking to demonstrate peacefully.”
The office called on Zimbabwe’s security forces to respect human rights and to exercise restraint.
Be that as it may, such heavy handedness by the state came few hours there had been abductions and torture of human rights activists and leaders of opposition parties, by alleged state agents.
This human rights abuses, are also likely to derail President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s so-called re-engagement efforts with the international community. His rule has been tainted with human rights abuses, since he came to power in 2017, following through a military coup.