Legal experts have said that the violent dispersion of protesters who were seated in the streets of Harare by the police was uncalled for and unjustified.
These remarks come after the police violently dissolved an MDC demonstration on the 16th of August saying that it was an unsanctioned gathering.
The Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) has expressed sadness in the police conduct which resulted in a number of people sustaining injuries. LSZ said:
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Police action must be just enough to neutralise the danger or harm likely to be caused by the demonstrators. Where the demonstrators are subdued, there is no legal justification for unrelenting and unmitigated assaults to be perpetrated on unarmed citizens.
The lawyers’ group also said that courts should not aid in suppressing human rights and freedoms by upholding prohibition orders.
The group also castigated the abduction of citizens saying that citizens’ safety and protection was the government’s sole and constitutional role.
Both abductions and the banning of demonstrations have been criticised by human rights watchdogs and the international community.
Meanwhile, the State argues that blocking demonstrations was done to ensure public safety as protests were likely t be as violent as the January protests. It also argues that there is a third hand that is behind abductions to taint the government’s image.
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