The U.N. human rights office is denouncing reported “excessive use of force” by Zimbabwe’s security forces against protesters opposed to dramatic fuel price increases and austerity measures.
Spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters Friday in Geneva: “It’s very difficult to manage a situation like this, but the bottom line is that the use of live ammunition by security forces was used, excessive violence was used.”
She notes the burning of buildings and reports of looting. She says it is unclear whether “opportunists,” like hungry people searching for food, or “demonstrators” were behind it.
Shamdasani calls on all sides to refrain from violence.
Zimbabweans injured during a government crackdown on protests over a dramatic fuel price increase are streaming into a hospital in the capital, Harare.
People have broken legs and other injuries. A nurse attends to a man with a broken spine.
Albert Taurai tells The Associated Press he had ventured out to look for bread when plainclothes officers wearing masks beat him up.
Keith Frymore has a torn lip. The security guard tells the AP a group of uniformed soldiers attacked him at work.
Alarm is growing over the crackdown this week on a nationwide stay-at-home protest movement.
A media group says Zimbabwe’s government has again forced a “total internet shutdown” after a days-long violent crackdown on people protesting dramatic fuel price increases.
MISA-Zimbabwe shares a text message from the country’s largest telecom company, Econet, calling the government order “beyond our reasonable control.” The shutdown faces a court challenge from MISA-Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
A prominent pastor and activist who faces a possible 20 years in prison on a subversion charge is set to appear in court again on Friday. Evan Mawarire calls it “heartbreaking” to see the new government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa acting like that of former leader Robert Mugabe.
International calls for restraint are growing, while Mnangagwa prepares to plead for more investment at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Associated Press
Source: Nehanda Radio