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Anti-riot police in Harare on Saturday besieged the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions ( ZCTU) offices before the start of the demo, briefly arresting top officials before releasing them.
ZCTU’s department of information revealed that on Saturday truckloads of heavily armed police officers in vans were moving along the roads leading to the ZCTU offices in Harare chanting songs.
“They were supported by Israel made anti-riot tanks intimidating the would be demonstrators. An army helicopter passed through the offices of the ZCTU, in a clear sign of instilling fear in people,” said the ZCTU. “The police officers then blocked the entrance where hundreds of activist are gathered before picking ZCTU leaders George Nkiwane and Japhet Moyo.”
“Others picked up were the ZCTU chairperson of Young Workers Ian Makoshore; Informal Economy Coordinator Elijah Mutemeri; National Engineering Workers Union Women’s Advisory Council member Sekai Manyau; General Secretary of Food Federation Runesu Dzimiri; and Progressive Teachers union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) General Secretary Raymond Majongwe,” it added.
The labour movement said anyone with red clothing who was walking close by the ZCTU was also bundled into the trucks.
“Those who were arrested were then dropped at various placed to avoid them congregating together,” ZCTU said.
“In Harare Harare by 1130, pockets of people were still regrouping going ahead with protests,” the organisation said.
“The police waited until the last minute before denying the ZCTU to stage a demonstration in Harare. They claimed that they do not have manpower to control the crowds and that the feared the demonstration would be hijacked by other people. This communication came around 18:00hrs when systems were ready to do. The ZCTU believes that this was a deliberate move by the police to avoid a situation where the ZCTU would approach the courts.”
In Chinhoyi, the police refused to grant permission for the demo claiming that Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa was scheduled to open the Chinhoyi Agriculture Show.
The police in Masvingo, Bulawayo, Gweru and Mutare granted permission for the ZCTU demo to go ahead. by Stephen Jakes- Source-bulawayo24.