TWO Valentine’s Day demonstrators who on Saturday marched through the streets of Harare to show their “love for the country” ended up in hospital after they were cornered and attacked by baton stick-wielding police officers who could not stomach the purpose of the march.
The march was organised by Zimbabwe Activists Alliance (ZAA) together with other civic organisations also to register displeasure at the deteriorating socio-economic situation in the country.
Scores of protesters marched from Speke Avenue and along Julius Nyerere Way in Harare holding placards, but were blocked by the police while heading towards Parliament Building and beaten at random.
“This was a Valentine’s Day march where Zimbabweans were expressing their love for their country,” said one of the victims, Lynnette Mudehwe, who is also a ZAA official.
“As we were marching, police pounced on us and beat people, and now two of us are now hospitalised. We are Zimbabweans and will always be. We will fight injustice and no amount of beating, abduction and death will deter us.”
Mudehwe said they had notified police of their intentions to hold the march and expressed shock at the conduct of law enforcement agents.
“I was beaten severely and sustained injuries. Police know that we notified them, but for them to be beating us is very illegal. If one commits a crime he/she must be arrested and not to be treated like this. This is illegal and we condemn that,” Mudehwe said.
Youth Advocacy for Reform and Democracy (Yard) representative Patson Dzamara said they were disturbed by the police’s reaction. “It is just unfortunate that the rule of law is not upheld in our nation and this barbaric attack on peaceful demonstrators is an attestation of that fact,” Dzamara said. National police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba was unreachable for comment yesterday.-AMH