THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has slammed police brutality after the members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police beat up demonstrators and a lawyer representing them in Harare on Thursday.
A lawyer with the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) Kennedy Masiye was assaulted at Africa Unity Square in central Harare while attempting to represent his clients, Itai Dzamara and other protesters, who were being subjected to assault for staging a peaceful sit-in.
Masiye and Dzamara are detained at a private hospital for treatment.
In a statement yesterday, ZCTU said the police must ”not act like thugs”, condemning “in strongest terms such hooliganism by the police force” to defend.
“Zimbabweans are entitled to peaceful demonstrations and the action of the police shows that it has failed to reform and we are still in the dark ages as before the new Constitution where police officers acted with impunity,” ZCTU said.
“By attacking a lawyer who is on his professional duty, the ZRP has shown that it does not respect the laws of the country and more shockingly that they are above the law. If lawyers are unable to defend citizens’ rights because they fear police officers, then where would Zimbabwe turn to?”
ZLHR said it was deeply concerned at the continuing unlawful conduct of members of the ZRP and their failure to respect the rights of Zimbabwean citizens, including lawyers performing their professional duties.
“It is clear from such behaviour that the ZRP continues to disregard constitutional protections and regional and international safeguards that protect the rights and freedoms of individuals, as well as their lawyers,” it said.
“ZLHR intends to file complaints with all the relevant authorities and at all levels, and will take every step open to it to bring those responsible to account for such reprehensible conduct.”