Harare's brutal clash
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Strikes and Protests 2007- Save Zimbabwe Campaign
March 13, 2007
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his real name) is 32 years old. Speaking from a secret house in
Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, he tells the BBC News website of the
brutal fracas that ensued when police stopped a rally in Highfield
suburb from taking place on Sunday.
about 60 of us from the area where I live and we joined up to head
to where the rally was going to be held.
The police were
already there when we arrived and were trying to stop the rally
from going ahead.
By the time [opposition
leader Morgan] Tsvangirai arrived there were more than 1,000 of
us youths, all singing.
When he [Tsvangirai]
came he just started lifting up his arms and everyone was celebrating
to see the leader alive.
That was when
the trouble started because he wanted to talk to us and they [the
police] were trying to separate him from us.
was getting heated - Tsvangirai and the police were arguing, and
we were carrying on singing and shouting, louder and louder.
All in all there
were only about 30 police and there were more than 1,000 - we were
too many for them. They could not control what was happening.
started throwing tear gas.
Some of them took
Tsvangirai and the MDC officials that were with him and forced them
into their vehicles. They drove away in two pick-ups and a white
A lot of people
started fleeing from the tear gas but some of us stayed and sang,
We started fighting
back. We threw stones at them, and when they began rushing towards
us, we started fighting with them because we wanted our freedom
and we wanted our leader to be released.
They knew they
couldn't win and so started shooting at us.
One of us was
killed. They shot my friend Gift Tandare dead.
When we realised
that one of us had been killed, everything became worse.
We went on the
rampage and we did not even fear for our lives.
There was a lot
of action and as we threw punches we cried in Shona: "Ngatirwirei
rusununguko" - let's fight back for our freedom.
When they [the
police] realised that someone had been shot they tried to run from
the scene. They had pick-ups but not all of them made it back in
time before they drove off.
About six or eight
of them were left with us.
As they ran some
of them dropped their batons so we picked up their discarded sticks
and used them to beat their left-behind colleagues.
The police were
One of our youth
leaders started calming the situation. He knew that if we carried
on like we were - we were so angry - that we would kill them."
If that happened,
the trouble would be too bad.
We left the police
on the side of the road and ran away. It was about one o'clock in
the afternoon. We were all told to disperse because we were afraid
that more police were going to come.
say they did not expect there to be trouble on Sunday but they are
the ones who caused the trouble.
They shot one
on Sunday, when we fought back, was the first time for me and a
lot of people I know.
There are many
reasons - the country is not stable anymore, prices of all commodities
are going up, everyday. We don't even have enough money to cater
for our basic needs. Transportation is rising every day.
And the postponement
of the elections to 2010 is now too much - people feel they cannot
wait anymore and suffer until that time.
Gift is at the
mortuary but the rest of us, we are hiding. The police take videos
at times and so we can't be sure if they saw our faces.
They might come
looking for us.
I am also affected
by the tear gas and now have the flu-like symptoms that it brings.
I cannot be seen to be suffering from these effects or else I will
be known to have been at the rally.
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