By Tendai Makaripe
BUSINESS in Harare’s Central Business District (CBD) was grounded today when a National Electoral Reform Agenda demonstration for electoral reforms turned ugly.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police flagrantly disobeyed Justice Hlekani Mwayera’s court order that was granted at the High Court in Harare on Friday clearing the demonstration resulting in running battles with the protesters.
The fracas started at Harare Magistrate’s Courts and spilled into the CBD where the demonstrators vandalised property, looted shops, stoned police vehicles and manhandled anyone they suspected to be a ZANU-PF sympathiser.
The protesters fanned out across the city into several mobs making it difficult for the police to cope up with them.
Derogatory songs denouncing ZANU-PF and President Robert Mugabe were sang by the angry mobs, mostly youths whose defiance was legendary.
ZANU-PF youths selling clothing at Copacabana flea market joined in the skirmishes by hurling stones at the protesters, but were soon outnumbered and forced to retreat leaving their stock unattended.
The flea market was immediately set ablaze torching the temporary structure and some of the clothes
Efforts to disperse the raging mobs were fruitless. Even the use of the dreaded tear gas and the water cannons could not carry the day for the security agents.
The mobs would temporarily disperse, but regroup almost immediately and continue with the chaos. Demonstrators fought back by throwing stones at police, while some set tyres ablaze and others pulled down the sign for a street named after Mugabe. As late as 7pm police were still firing tear gases in the CBD.
Zimbabwe has been rocked by sporadic protests for many past weeks as citizens revolt against ZANU-PF’s 36-year rule that has been marred by rampant corruption and mismanagement of the country’s economy.
Harare demonstrations in pictures
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