Zimbabwe police block opposition-led protest in Gweru

The EU, together with the US, Britain and other Western nations, said the recent harassment and intimidation of rights defenders was a cause for great concern.

A protester holds a copy of the Constitution of Zimbabwe during a demonstration and clashes with the police in Harare on 16 August 2019. Picture: AFP

HARARE - Police on Tuesday blocked another opposition-led protest in Zimbabwe in the central city of Gweru, the third protest blocked in five days.

Meanwhile, in a strongly-worded statement, the European Union (EU) delegation to Harare called on the authorities to uphold constitutional rights, including the right of Zimbabweans to protest peacefully.

The EU, together with the US, Britain and other Western nations, said the recent harassment and intimidation of rights defenders was a cause for great concern.

In a joint statement, they called on the security forces to exercise restraint in maintaining public order and repeated calls for economic and political reforms.

Opposition supporters and bystanders were beaten by riot police last Friday when they tried to defy a ban on a protest march in Harare.

The police said the Movement for Democratic Change marches if allowed to go ahead, could turn violent.

But critics said the heavy-handed policing seen in recent days showed nothing had changed under President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.