Cop injured, property destroyed in rowdy demo Snr Asst Comm Charamba

Freeman Razemba : Crime Reporter

Scores of people were injured, while property worth thousands of dollars — including vehicles — was damaged when shadowy groups, civic organisations and MDC-T supporters ran amok during demonstrations against the proposed introduction of bond notes and unemployment in Harare yesterday.This comes as expelled former Vice President Dr Joice Mujuru filed a legal challenge against the introduction of bond notes.

Among the injured was a policeman.

Three people have so far been arrested in connection with the violent clashes as investigations continue.

By last night, several people were still making reports at Harare Central Police Station that they had been attacked during the demonstrations.

The policeman was stripped naked and lost his uniform and shoes after he was attacked while leaving a bank.

Among people believed to have been fuelling the violence were Acie Lumumba of VIVA Zimbabwe, Tajamuka/Sesjikile spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi, Transform Zimbabwe president Jacob Ngaribvume and members of the Zimbabwe Coalition for Unemployed Graduates (ZCFUG).

According to police, at least 4 000 people from these groups caused mayhem in the city yesterday.

Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said these groups had joined hands to demonstrate following a court order that gave them the green light to do so.

“What is disturbing is that according to their application through the court, they had said they would carry out a peaceful demonstration, but they ran amok and damaged property, cars and injured innocent people. Police were operating under difficult circumstances since there were about 4 000 people,” she said.

Snr Asst Comm Charamba said the group first went to the New Government Complex where it sought to handover a petition to Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa.

The demonstrators demanded to enter the complex, but police would not allow them all since the complex houses several ministries and Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s offices.

Ngaribvume and a colleague were allowed to enter and deliver the petition.

It is reported that on its way from the complex to Parliament Building, the group became violent and started throwing stones and attacking people who were going about their business.

“Police had to move in and disperse them. They also chased a police officer who was coming from a bank and undressed him, taking his uniform and shoes. During the process three people were arrested and one of them was found with the police officer’s shoes in his bag,” Snr Asst Comm Charamba said.

She said the group later went and stoned a police post along First Street and a car that was parked nearby.

A police vehicle was also stoned during the demonstrations.

The groups had been sending unsolicited text messages, e-mails and posts on social networks such as Facebook in the hope of getting Zimbabweans to engage in demonstrations against the Government.

The Herald witnessed various cars being stoned along Sam Nujoma Street and some of the service stations and shops along the road were temporary closed.

People queuing at some of the banks in the city were also chased away.

Some of these youths could be seen provoking the police while holding stones, which they later used to attack the officers who had been deployed to maintain law and order.

Police had, however, been heavily deployed to ensure the safety of citizens who were doing their business.

Last month, Zimbabweans across the country ignored calls for a stayaway instigated by regime change agents on social media.

United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Harry Thomas, Jr and his French counterpart, Ambassador Laurent Delahousse, were accused of having a hand in last month’s disturbances in Harare and Bulawayo.

According to Government, the two were using social media to fuel civil disobedience and ultimately destabilise Zimbabwe.

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