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February 21, 2007
In a blatant
violation of the fundamental rights of freedom of expression, assembly
and association the government has imposed a three-month ban on
demonstrations and political rallies in Harare.
public notices published in The Herald on 21 February
2007 the officers commanding Mbare and Harare South chief superintendents
Tsitsi Sadzamari and Thomsen Toddie Jangara respectively, said all
demonstrations and rallies in the two respective districts had been
banned until 20 May 2007.
The police cited
the violence, looting and destruction of property in Highfield on
18 February and Kambuzuma on 4 February 2007 as reasons
for the ban. On the 18th, police violently stopped a
High Court sanctioned rally in Highfield by the opposition MDC leading
to violent clashes between riot police and supporters of the main
The police invoked
the restrictive Public
Order and Security Act (POSA) to effect the bans under Section
27 which allows for the temporary prohibition of the holding of
public gatherings within police districts for a period not exceeding
in Highfield came a day after the High Court granted the MDC an
order allowing them to proceed with their rally to launch its 2008
presidential campaign at the Zimbabwe grounds in the same suburb.
In her judgment
Justice Anne-Marie Gowora said the police had not issued the proper
prohibition order in their bid to bar the rally from proceeding
accordingly. The government still proceeded to disrupt the rally
despite the MDC winning its urgent application barring the police
from interfering with or disrupting the rally leading to the violent
In his opposing
affidavit, Chief Superintendent Jangara had argued that the police
did not have sufficient manpower and that the MDC supporters had
violent tendencies as the reasons for banning the rally.
police arrested MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti and Glen View
legislator Paul Madzore immediately after the court ruling on 17
February 2007 for allegedly assaulting five policemen during street
demonstrations in Harare the previous day. Biti, Madzore and seven
other MDC members were only released on bail on 20 February 2007
on charges of public violence and remanded to 7 March 2007.
were staged to protest against the ever escalating cost of living
which has seen inflation shoot to 1 600 percent pushing the prices
of basic commodities beyond the reach of the ordinary citizen.
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