Protestors radically forced to flee anti- President Mugabe rally after being teargassed
Zimbabwean’s opposition leaders have been forced to flee a protest rally against the world oldest President Robert Mugabe after being fired with tear gas by police as a court-sanctioned demonstration descended into violence.
A ZimbabweNewsday witness said Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai and former vice president Joice Mujuru fled the rally in their cars as more than 100 riot officers battled protesters.
Security forces have cracked down on rising protests against the 92-year-old Mugabe and the ruling ZANU-PF in recent months.
Tsvangirai and Mujuru had been due to lead the latest rally in the capital Harare, which was protected by the nation’s High Court, to call for the government to introduce changes ahead of the next election in 2018.
The call for electoral reform is coupled with widespread anger over the country’s economic turmoil that has left cash shortages and high unemployment.
The latest clashes occurred as scores of riot officers occupied the venue that the emboldened opponents of Mugabe planned to use to march.
Our witness said police, backed up by the water cannons and armoured trucks, fired on the protesters after they refused orders to leave the site.
A few dozen demonstrators threw rocks at the police and burned tyres on the roadside near the square where the public action was due to start.
“We are not going anywhere and demonstrating is the only solution left to force the dictator out of office,” said Tapfuma Make, an unemployed 24-year-old.