The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on Thursday petitioned the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to stop throwing tear gas canisters into public transport.
ZLHR also called upon Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga to write to the human rights organisation assuring that the offences would not be repeated.
Introducing the Pindula News Mobil App
Download from Google Play Store
This followed an incident this week where police officers threw tear gas canisters into a South Africa-bound Mulaudzi bus, forcing dozens of passengers, including children, to escape through windows.
In the letter written by Tinashe Chinopfukutwa and Paidamoyo Saurombe, the human rights lawyers said:
The indiscriminate throwing of tear gas canisters into loaded public transport vehicles amounts to excessive and unjustifiable use of force by ZRP members and amounts to a violation of the passengers right to human dignity and the right to personal security as provided for in section 51 and section 52 of the Constitution.
Unconfirmed reports said a child was injured when police officers threw tear gas into an occupied Mulaudzi bus this week and had to be urgently taken to hospital.
In December last year, an elderly woman and children were forced to jump out of a bus at the Harare Showgrounds bus stop after a police officer discharged a tear smoke canister.
The lawyers said they were in the process of preparing a court application for the ZRP members’ conduct in question to be declared a violation of passengers’ fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution and for an order prohibiting such conduct.