Police Sunday arrested scores of MDC Alliance supporters in Mabvuku, Harare, and blocked a rally to celebrate the party’s 22 years in existence.
MDC Alliance secretary-general Chalton Hwende confirmed the arrests of at least 15 party supporters who attended the event which he was scheduled to address.
Hwende described it as “effectively banning the opposition” by the regime after the rally was stopped by the police despite having given them notice of the gathering. Hwende said:
I was supposed to address the meeting only to be told that the police have blocked the event and arrested our party supporters.
They insisted the meeting will not take place, despite the fact that we had booked and notified them.
This regime has banned the MDC Alliance, first by working with some elements to recall our MPs and councillors, then taking over our headquarters.
He said it was unfortunate that the MDC Alliance was being treated as a banned outfit in Zimbabwe. In a statement on Sunday, the party said:
This afternoon, [police] violently disrupted our Anniversary celebrations in Mabvuku. More than 50 were arrested and detained at Mabvuku Police Station. Several members and supporters have been badly injured.
The party’s leader, Nelson Chamisa was recently attacked by suspected ZANU-PF supporters and suspected State security agents during his provincial tours.
The ban on the MDC Alliance meeting comes as President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been crossing the country’s provinces and holding rallies that were attended by thousands of ZANU PF supporters.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said he would check on the arrests.