Published on : 31/07/2020 – 18:08
Several demonstrators were arrested Friday in Harare, during a demonstration against corruption and the economic crisis in Zimbabwe. The protest movement had been banned the day before by the authorities.
While the opposition had called for demonstrations on Friday, July 31, against corruption and the economic crisis in Zimbabwe, the streets of the capital Harare were nevertheless almost deserted during the day, after warnings formulated by the police. The police and the army, on the war footing since the day before, carried out checks in the four corners of the city.
Most of the inhabitants of Harare stayed at home. In the business district, police officers in riot gear were present at almost every crossroads.
On Thursday, the authorities had indeed recalled the ban on these anti-government demonstrations and warned that the security forces “on alert” would not hesitate to intervene. Some demonstrators, however, dared to take to the streets. Several were arrested, like the writer Tsitsi Dangarembga.
In the running for the prestigious British literary prize, the Booker Prize, the Zimbabwean author was arrested during the protest which was banned by the authorities.
At 61, carrying signs, the one who returned to her country after studying in England was demonstrating in Borrowdale, an upscale district of the Zimbabwean capital.
Calling in particular for the release of a journalist who had called for a demonstration, Tsitsi Dangarembga was loaded into a police truck with another demonstrator, noted an AFP photographer.
“Arrested! In Borrowdale. Hope it’s ok,” she tweeted shortly after her arrest.
Arrested! At Borrowdale. Ope it will be OK
– Tsitsi Dangarembga (@ efie41209591) July 31, 2020
Other arrests were made, including that of lawyer and spokesperson for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC, the main opposition party) Fadzayi Mahere.
On Facebook, it broadcast live images of his arrest. We see police climbing the metal barriers of a restaurant where she had stopped after demonstrating, to come and arrest her.
For some, the situation is worse than under Mugabe
The government has stepped up the crackdown. Zanu-PF spokesman in power, Patrick Chinamasa recently called US Ambassador Brian Nicholls a “thug”, accusing him of having instigated these anti-corruption protests.
Successor of Robert Mugabe at the head of the country after a coup in November 2017, President Emmerson Mnangagwa had promised to revive a dying economy. But some believe the situation is even worse than under the Mugabe era.
A country in southern Africa, Zimbabwe has been stuck for twenty years in a catastrophic economic crisis, resulting in galloping inflation and shortages of many basic necessities.
According to the United Nations Food Program (WFP), approximately 60% of the Zimbabwean population, or 8.6 million people, will be food insecure by the end of the year, due to ” of the combined effects of drought, economic recession and the “Covid-19 pandemic.”