AT least 60 people were arrested by police ahead and during foiled citizen protests of July 31 while 16 were injured and had to seek medical attention, a human rights lawyers group has reported.
Among those arrested is the national convener of the protest, Jacob Ngarivhume who is president of Transform Zimbabwe and freelance journalist Hopewell Chin’ono.
The two are in remand prison after they were denied bail. Also arrested on the day of the protests were MDC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere as well as renowned author and film director Tsitsi Dangarembga.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) confirmed the arrests.
“At least 60 people have been arrested ahead of or during #31July protest,” ZLHR said in a statement.
“They include Hopewell Chin’ono, Jacob Ngarivhume and Fadzayi Mahere, amongst others. 16 people were injured requiring medical attention. Peaceful protest is a human right.”
Most of the arrests took place Friday in Harare and Bulawayo and some of the protesters were assaulted while in police custody.
The arrested protesters appeared in court Saturday and were granted bail varying from $2 000 to $5 000.
“It is deplorable how Terry Guta and Loveridge Chinzvende were abducted, heavily tortured, surrendered to the police who did not bother to arrest the people who had tortured them but proceeded to charge them. This shows that there is no rule of law in Zimbabwe.”
Those who were arrested with Mahere in Mt Pleasant, Harare include Simon Drury, Tinashe Murapatsa, Nyasha Musendu, Josee Lots, Jessica Drury and Tinotenda Muswe.
Also arrested last week is 32-year-old George Makonzo of Mwenezi in Masvingo province who was charged with criminal nuisance and incitement after he tweeted; “Hopewell will be remembered for the great job he is doing while those corrupt ones trying to run but they will have nowhere to run to. That day will come.”
He was set free on a $1 000 bail by Mwenezi magistrate, Honest Musiiwa. His trial resumes on 27 August.