By Phil Tejane|
Heavily armed riot police savagely beat up scores of Movement for Democratic Change supporters moments after they delivered a verbal petition to MPs calling for an inquiry into the abduction of pro-democracy activist Itai Dzamara.
Several MDC members, including youth leader Happymore Chidziva, who was leading the protest, were injured.
“Armed police assaulted hundreds of MDC youths who marched and petitioned parliament for the immediate release of Itai Dzamara, an activist who was abducted by suspected state security agents on Monday at a local barber shop,” MDC said in a statement. “The MDC condemns the barbaric police assault of peaceful demonstrators that caused commotion in the city centre.”
Youth leader Chidziva dismissed claims by ZRP spokesperson Charity Charamba that the youths had attacked the police and stolen a helmet and baton.
“We did not assault the police. MDC youths are not violent. The police just came and beat us after we had delivered an oral message to parliamentarians. I was beaten on the hand and I’m still in great pain,” Chidziva said.
He blamed dictator Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF for Dzamara’s disappearance after he was kidnapped by unknown assailants in Glen View on Monday.
“They are the ones responsible for this kidnap and they must bring Dzamara back,” Chidziva said.
Another youth leader, James Chidhakwa urged Zimbabweans to keep fighting the dictatorship until freedom was achieved.
In parliament, MDC MPs took acting president Emmerson Mnangagwa to task over Dzamara’s abduction and suspected murder.
Mnangagwa claimed the government had no information about Dzamara’s whereabouts.
Human rights defenders condemned the clampdown on peaceful protests.
Dzamara remained missing Thursday. His lawyer, Charles Kwaramba said his family was not getting any co-operation from the police. He said he had applied to the High Court for help in the investigation and the matter was set down for Friday.
The police later encamped at the MDC headquarters, blocking officials from leaving.
MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday said Mugabe was responsible for Dzamara’s kidnapping, which he said was a “sordid and senseless act”.
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