Zimdiaspora in final push

Zimdiaspora in final push
Published: 20 August 2019 (161 Views)
In one of the Largest planned peaceful demonstrations this year, the Zimbabwe Diaspora in the UK made so much noise, that, over 15 Police officers, including rapid response, Armed and West Minster Enforcement were called to the Zimbabwe Embassy at 429, The Strand, London on the 16th of August 2019.

The Crowd which numbered over 100 was making a real go at chanting while some tried to gather and fit under the tented area.  With the numbers in attendance proving too many for the seemingly allocated space, the noise levels seemed to be contained within the tent covering when one walked away from the tent put up by ZHRO Human Rights activists.  

Suddenly the crowd moved out of the tented area and onto the steps of the Embassy doors.  This created a booming sound that echoed and brought onlookers, who were passing along The Strand and other streets, to pull their phones out, firstly to witness the demonstration and then to witness the arrival of the Police.  The Wailing of the sirens made the crowd increase their volume to the extent that it (The noise) became deafening.

The officers leapt off their bikes and out of their cars, walked straight to the Embassy doors, then started to marshal the crowd back to the allocated, tented space.  The majority of the crowd obliged, while a select few were reluctant.  "They are beating people whilst they are sitting down," some shouted, "they are murderers," shouted another.  

They were referring to a video that was circulating on social media, where scenes reminiscent to, The Soweto Uprising during Apartheid South Africa, the brutal crackdown on dissent by the Smith led Rhodesian Government, the Tiananmen Square Protests and the Civil Rights movement protests during the days of Dr Martin Luther King were being played out, only this time in 2019, in the Central Business District (CBD) of Harare, Zimbabwe.  

The video shows Zimbabweans, who were sitting down in the CBD, crowds, comprising the young and old, both men and women, waiting for a response to a court decision.  They were suddenly surrounded from three sides, left with one escape route, then they were pounced on and brutally attacked by, what looked like the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).  These were the videos that were circulating and caused anger outside 429 The Strand (Zimbabwe Embassy).

Social media reports allege that, those who were wearing the "Police Uniforms" were ZANU-PF Militia youths and Army officers.  "They are Army and ZANU-PF Youths, pretending to be police," some said in interviews.  "This is so painful.  I was meant to be at work today, but when I saw these scenes playing out in Zimbabwe, I couldn't go.  I cancelled my shift and decided to come to the Embassy to protest," said one of the Protesters.

No one was arrested and nothing was damaged at the planned peaceful protest in London UK.  The right to protest in the UK was clearly visible.  When asked about this, Philip Mahlahla said the police are there not only to protect the Embassy, but to protect the protesters as well, because, "when we protest, their main concern is, the protester or whoever is inside.  Not just the Embassy, that's a building."

When asked about the cleanliness of the site after the Protest, he said, "We are not a violent bunch, neither are we a messy lot."  Litter picking had been done by some of the ZHRO leaders towards the end of the planned protest.

The silence of the ZANU-PF media outlets and their media personnel, since 16th of August 2019, regarding the lack of Human Rights in Zimbabwe, especially the Right to Peaceful Protest is deafening.  Particularly since the United Nations issued a statement that was televised, in relation to among other things (1) the crackdown on peaceful protest, (2) worrying reports of threats against citizens who wish to exercise their rights to express their opinions, (3) allegations of increased surveillance of and increased threats against civil society organisations by state agents.  

Whilst their silence in the media is deafening, the Crackdown on Civil Rights Activists and Opposition Party Members is loud and clear to the world.

This shows that the Zimbabwe Government, are not able to eliminate corruption, nor handle peaceful protests in the same way that the Chinese Government and most successful Governments in the East or Western Governments are able to.  One only wonders what will happen next, however as said before, the silence is deafening.

- Thabo Makuyana


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