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Police deny civil society claims

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Police have denied allegations they were blocking meetings organised by political parties and civic society groups in Matabeleland North province for no good reason.

National police spokesperson Andrew Phiri told NewsDay yesterday police would act if there was breach of peace and laid down procedures.

“It is important to remember that, according to the Public Order and Security Act, public gatherings are convened after the regulating authority which is the police, is notified within a stipulated time,” said Phiri.

“When the regulating authority feels that it is not safe to hold the gathering at that time, it will advise the convener and the reasons will be given why the gathering cannot be held at that place or time.”

Asked to comment about the complaints from civic society groups and political parties police in Matabeleland North were frustrating their programmes Phiri said:

“Unfortunately I cannot give a general comment on that. We will need to visit each case and find out the reasons why the gatherings were blocked, but I am certain that when the regulating authority blocks a gathering, they give reasons.

“When they are given the green light to hold their gatherings, those organisations are provided with security by the police.”

Many civic society groups in the region last week accused police of wantonly blocking their meetings for no apparent reason.

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