America Urges Peace and Calm in Zimbabwe
The Canadian president on Friday called for calm and peaceful dialogue after a protest by opposition parties turned violent.
“The Embassy of Canada to Zimbabwe is increasingly concerned with reports of violence and human rights violations in response to public protest. The Embassy of Canada calls for calm and stresses the importance of peaceful dialogue,” the embassy said.
“The Embassy of Canada reiterates its call on all stakeholders to respect the Constitution of Zimbabwe, in particular, the freedom to peacefully demonstrate, the right to personal liberty, the right to personal security and the rights of arrested and detained persons.”
On Friday, Zimbabwean police fired teargas into a crowd of peaceful demonstrators in Harare 20 minutes after the Harare High Court declared the demonstration legal.
Canada is the first foreign country to respond on peace calling in Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwean high court ordered the police to allow members of a coalition of opposition parties to march from Freedom Square in the city centre along a specified route to present a petition to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) at its offices, between noon and 4 pm but our reporter’s reporters reported violence by police.
The Zimbabwean police ignored the court order and fired teargas into the crowd on Freedom Square, dispersing the demonstration of about 300 before it really got going. About 200 demonstrators later returned.
Some of the activists reported abducted and taken by unknown vehicles believed to be one of state security agency,
The streets around the square were littered with stones, rocks, and small burning objects. Before they were dispersed, a small group of opposition supporters was singing liberation war songs, including “Hondo (war) Mugabe must go”.
About 200 riot police, some armed with AK 47’s, swarmed over the field between the Rainbow Towers Hotel and the Harare show grounds from 9 am.
The Embassy of Canada called on the Zimbabwean government to make every effort to ensure that public policing and justice is consistent with the government’s constitutional obligation to respect basic human rights and freedoms.