Victoria Falls – Police in Zimbabwe yesterday arrested 36 people for staging demonstrations in various parts of the country, including 14 white Zimbabweans and a Belgian national who were nabbed in Victoria Falls after a solidarity protest.
Chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba confirmed the arrests. “In Masvingo central business district, some street children were found in possession of catapults after their arrest,” she said.
“In Matabeleland North, 15 whites and two locals carrying placards written, ‘Enough is Enough’ were also arrested for staging an unlawful demonstration. We can’t rule out a third force in (these) illegal protests. In Bulawayo, a man was arrested for possession of bombs.”
Snr Asst Comm Charamba said the situation in the country remains calm although they noted a few incidents of road blockades and tyre burning. In Harare, Snr Asst Comm Charamba said skirmishes were witnessed in Budiriro 5, Mufakose and Warren Park D.
She said the police swiftly moved in to remove the barricades erected by the protestors.
“The police arrested 19 people, six from Budiriro and 13 from Mufakose. Among the hooligans is Linda Masarira of the Occupy Africa Unity Square who was throwing stones and burning stalls of innocent vendors,” Charamba claimed.
“Investigations are ongoing to arrest perpetrators of violence,” she added
Snr Asst Comm Charamba denied social media reports that Choppies Supermarkets in Chitungwiza and Bulawayo were burnt down. She also dismissed reports that the National Railways of Zimbabwe rail wagons were burnt down in Bulawayo.
“Generally, there was free movement of people who decided to go to work as they went about their normal business,” said Snr Asst Comm Charamba.
“Some banks and shops were also opened for business since police were deployed to ensure safety and security. This is contrary to social media messages purporting that no uniformed police were deployed.”
She said in Manicaland, a bus belonging to Inter-Africa Bus Company was attacked with stones by unknown assailants but there were no injuries and the driver did not stop.
Charamba said they had gathered information that there were some thugs who were planning to cause disturbances during the night and warned against such behaviour.
She said police would remain on high alert to thwart any illegal and criminal activities meant to disturb peace.
“We are urging members of the public to continue with the spirit of peacefulness and ignore all social media messages inciting people to engage in violent activities.
“In the same vein, the Zimbabwe Republic Police would like to thank all those peace loving Zimbabweans who defied the odds by not being brainwashed to join the hooligans who were disturbing peace and security. ZRP says no to violence,” Charamba said.
By Tuesday police had arrested 95 people in Harare following chaotic scenes caused by touts and rank marshals protesting against heavy traffic police presence on the roads on Monday. Of the 95 arrested, 54 were arrested in Epworth and the other 41 in Ruwa.
- Nehanda Radio