In an interview with The Herald, police chief spokesperson Commissioner Charity Charamba confirmed they arrested children who were involved in last week’s protests.
Charamba said children were involved in looting, acts of arson and violence. According to police statistics, at least four juveniles appeared in court in Mutare and Harare over offences committed during last week’s protests. Charamba said the juvenile suspects had to be released into the custody of their parents when the adults were locked up in remand prison. Two were released at the Harare Magistrates’ Court on Monday while another pair of juveniles was granted bail in Mutare. Said Charamba:
Parents should not allow their children to participate in violence. In some cases, violent protestors would use children as human shields when they clashed with the security forces. Women would be placed on the second row while the violence architects, who appeared to be men, would be at the back. That is dangerous and is tantamount to exposing children to violence. It also destroys their future. We respect children’s rights and there was no abuse in the arrest of the juveniles. Unfortunately, our law does not exempt the juveniles from arrest. They had to be released into the custody of their parents.
The police said some women with babies strapped on their backs committed offences during the protests.