Baton wielding police in Harare unleashed violence, randomly spraying tear gas and beating main opposition MDC supporters, journalists and civilians gathering outside Richard Morgan Tsvangirai (MRT) house for opposition leader Nelson Chamisa’s shadow State of the Nation Address dubbed Hope of the Nation Address (HONA).
Police who were barricading Nelson Mandela avenue from Angwa and First Street abruptly ambushed MDC supporters that were gaining momentum chanting Anti-Mnangagwa slogans with the crowd growing in numbers.
Civilians and journalists in the environs of MRT house were were not spared from the wrath of the police resorting to excessive force attacking everyone without any warning or questions asked.
Scores of civilians and journalists were injured in the wanton clampdown by the police.
MDC National spokesperson Daniel Molekele bemoaned the continued and unwarranted clampdown on civilians saying it revealed that the government was not sincere in respecting and upholding basic human rights.
Molekele condemned the brutality and high handed manner in which the police forcefully dispersed the citizens outside MDC headquarters arguing that the new dispensation was a facade.
“The brutality of the police today has only served to emphasise that the illegitimate regime is even more repressive than all the previous regimes.
“Indeed, there is no doubt that the illegitimate regime is now clearly worse off than both the old Mugabe and Smith led regime’s,” he said.
Molekele urged Zimbabweans not to be intimidated by this brutal show of repressive force by the current Mnangagwa regime. He added that no repressive regime has ever survived the collective power of a united and resilient people.
MDC Youth Assembly spokesperson Steven Chuma who sustained a broken arm in the crackdown blamed President Emmerson Mnangagwa for the police attacks.
“It is now clear that Emmerson Mnangagwa has failed to solve the economic question hence is now resorting to police brutality.
“Clearly it’s now a total police state. Mnangagwa has literally banned MDC as a political party,” he said.
Community Radio of Harare (CORAH) journalist Melody Mhizha narrated how she was attacked by the police whilst carrying out her journalistic duties.
“My colleagues and I were filming what was happening at MRT house and police started attacking people who were singing.
“As I was filming the attacks one policeman came to me shouting in shona ‘Ukutorei, ukutorei!’ I flashed my press card in defense but he went on to assault me,” she said.
A vendor who preferred anonymity fearing victimisation said the attack was premeditated, calculated and well executed manoeuvre to thwart Chamisa’s SONA.
“The police already had been given a command to carry out the attack they were simply waiting for a signal.
“Because as the crowd was starting to gain momentum they attacked everybody at once at different ends,” he said.
The Zanu PF led government, under pressure from an economy spiralling down the drain, has been suspicious of MDC political manoeuvres, banning the opposition’s protests and functions arguing they are bent on effecting unconstitutional regime change and civil disobedience.
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