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Thursday, September 24, 2020

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CIVICUS, others condemn Zimbabwe continued crackdown on critics

Zimbabwe’s military and police continue the arrests of scores of critics/opposition figures after last week’s aborted anti-government protest, according to reports.

Global civil society alliance CIVICUS has condemned the action of the government, describing it as barbaric, the group also sent a solidarity message to Zimbabwean activists saying, ‘CIVICUS stands in solidarity with Zimbabwean activists and condemns the targeting of civil society leaders and journalists.’

More than 60 people at the last count have been arrested in the continuing clampdown, said Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, which is providing lawyers for the arrested people.

Last week internationally known author Tsitsi Dangarembga was arrested for a peaceful protest and spent a night in police cells before being released on bail.

Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the MDC Alliance, says dozens of its officials have been arrested or have gone into hiding.

If state agents do not find the person they want to arrest, they often vandalize their homes and harass their relatives, said opposition spokesman Tendai Biti.

The military has declared protests against the worsening economic situation “illegal” and has militarised the streets, closed businesses and limited movements of people.

Many civil society leaders are being monitored by the authorities and the families of others are being held by the police.

Paul Mulindwa, Advocacy and Campaigns Officer, CIVICUS said thatt, “the level of barbarism we are seeing under the current regime in Zimbabwe is symptomatic of the darkest days of the previous regime.

The Zimbabwean authorities have clearly panicked in the run-up to planned protests. They have unleashed a campaign in the hope of silencing journalists and activists and forestalling demonstrations. The African Union and South Africa should condemn these abhorrent actions.”

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