The European Union (EU) has reaffirmed Zimbabweans’ right to freedom of assembly, association and peaceful protest.
The EU has urged demonstrators to abstain from violence or vandalism, and security forces to exercise restraint. It said in a statement:
On the eve of planned demonstrations, the EU reiterates that citizens have rights to freedom of assembly, association, expression and to peaceful protest.
We urge demonstrators to abstain from violence or vandalism and call on security forces to exercise constraint and proportionality!
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Republic Police has accused the protests convenors of plotting to unleash violence. Part of the ZRP statement reads in part:
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) informs the nation that based on the notifications given by MDC A to regulating authorities to hold demonstrations in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Masvingo, Mutare and surrounding towns on August 16, 19, 20, 21 and 22 , intelligence and concrete evidence on the ground has revealed that indeed these so-called ‘peaceful’ demonstrations will turn out to be violent.