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Lawyers march to parliament
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
December 13, 2006

More than 200 people, largely from the legal profession and various civic organizations, thronged the Harare Gardens today in recognition of International Human Rights Day under the theme ‘fighting poverty as a matter of obligation and not charity’. The event was organized by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

The day kicked off at the Harare Gardens with a speech by Mr. Andrew Makoni of the ZLHR followed by planting of the human rights tree. The procession marched down Samora Machel proceeding to 2nd Street and into Kwameh Nkrumah where they stopped at Parliament House and the Supreme Court.

A petition was handed to the Speaker of Parliament who refused to accept it for unclear reasons. It was however, accepted by the Supreme Court. The petition highlighted the suffering of Zimbabweans and the abuse of civic and political rights. In their petition, ZLHR cited issues affecting the public which include, rising inflation, displacement through Operation Murambatsvina, unavailability of ARVs, torture of Human Rights Defenders by state agents,, draconian laws , the decline in life expectancy and the condoning of violence by the Executive Government. ZLHR condemned the establishment of a Human Rights Commission by a government which abuses people’s rights.

The day was deemed successful, though it was marred by the presence of the police who, through their large presence at the Supreme Court, intimidated the people and instilled fear and despondence. Members of the army looked on from the defense house helplessly as the demonstrators danced and sang. In addition, Assistant Inspector Mhondoro of the Police Intelligence tried to stop the meeting because they feared that it might turn into a revolt. Mr. Tsunga encouraged the demonstrators to remain calm and follow the instructions of the police.

It is evident how the Zimbabwean government continues to suffocate human rights even on Human Rights day through using the police and refusing to accept the petition forwarded to them. they have shown intolerance towards people of Zimbabwe by refusing countless times to address their concerns.

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