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ZIMCET statement on police brutality
Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (ZIMCET)
February 19, 2007
The Zimbabwe Civic
Education Trust (ZIMCET) would like to register great concern over
the blatant disregard of the law by the police when they clashed
with MDC Anti-senate faction supporters in Highfields on Sunday
18 February. The supporters were converging for a rally at the Zimbabwe
Grounds near Machipisa Shopping Centre when the police pounced.
The rally was being held after the High Court granted the party
permission to do so but the police claimed that they did not have
manpower "to provide security". Hence they cancelled the
rally causing the supporters to go on a rampage and the police retaliating
with teargas canisters and baton sticks.
the impunity that the policed displayed by defying a High Court
Order when they are supposed to be custodians of the law. In disturbing
an authorised rally, police showed complete disregard for the rule
of law and showed themselves to be above the law. ZIMCET calls upon
the powers that be in the law enforcement department to respect
court decisions. Their defence that they did not have sufficient
manpower fails to hold since they proceeded to field hundreds of
police and riot police details to quell the disturbance which spilled
over to the neighbouring location of Glen Norah.
The conduct of
the police was highly deplorable in that they even invaded a beer
hall at the shopping centre and manhandled patrons. As a result,
chaos became the order of the day as hooligans took advantage of
the situation and started looting shops and open markets.
that such havoc could have been avoided had the police heeded the
High Court ruling. It is essential that court rulings are respected
and upheld and infringements should be severely punished despite
who the offender is. Deterrent penalties should be meted out such
that state agencies do not discharge their duties in a partisan
manner. ZIMCET therefore calls for the expedited formulation of
a properly constituted Human Rights Commission which would be capable
of effectively dealing with such cases of human rights abuses.
Visit ZIMCET's fact
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