Ban on Zim protests condemned
The ruling by Justice George Chiweshe invalidated a previous court order that had found the ban to be unconstitutional.
Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa, Muleya Mwananyanda, said the ruling must be rescinded and the ban lifted as it infringes the fundamental right to freedom of assembly.
“Police must not be given carte blanche to impose a blanket ban on protests which are protected by the country’s constitution, and Zimbabwe’s international human rights commitments,” Mwananyanda said.
He said instead of outlawing peaceful assemblies, the government would do well to ensure the safety of people who choose to peacefully exercise their right to protest.
Zimbabwe, which is experiencing economic hardships, has experienced a wave of protests against the administration of President Robert Mugabe (92).
Police declared that no protests would be allowed in Harare from September 16 to October 15, a decision they said was aimed at preserving peace.
Other previous court rulings have allowed for peaceful protests.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa bemoaned the arbitrary bans on proposed marches and rallies by opposition political parties and other groupings.
“These developments could prove costly for Zimbabwe which is desperate to retain international goodwill to unlock foreign capital investments which hinges on the country instituting fundamental political and economic reforms,” the media rights group said.
Several journalists have been caught in the crossfire as they were assaulted or unlawfully arrested by the police while covering demonstrations.
– CAJ News
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