The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) said that it is ready to deal with anyone who engages in violence after social media reports emerged, advising citizens to protest on Thursday, May 30 2019.
In a statement released on Wednesday, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said:
The Zimbabwe Republic Police is urging members of the public to disregard a social media post which is calling for the public to engage in acts of violence by burning vehicles, destroying shops, stopping children from going to school and agitating for bloodshed on 30/05/19.
- - - Buy NetOne, Telecel Airtime on WhatsApp using EcoCash.
Send the word Airtime to +263 714 815 229
No extra charges. - - -
In 2016, social media was used to call for an unprecedented peaceful stay away, leading to the arrest of a Harare pastor, Evan Mawarire of the #ThisFlag Movement.
Mawarire was subsequently charged with attempting to subvert a constitutionally elected government as he was accused of calling for the national shutdown.
The government is wary as social media again played a part in calling for demonstrations in January this year. However, the protests became violent in some areas resulting in security forces reportedly using live ammunition to crush the riots.
At one point, the government ordered a total internet blackout, which was eventually reversed by a High Court ruling.