29 dragged to court over violent anti-govt protests in Bulawayo

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

A total of 29 suspects have so far appeared in different courts in Bulawayo in connection with the deadly protests which rocked the city following a recent fuel price hike by government.

Twenty-five suspects appeared separately at the Tredgold and Western Commonage magistrates’ courts on Wednesday.

Four other suspects appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Tinashe Tashaya on Thursday and were denied bail.

The four, Kelvin Dube (18), Thintimpi Masotsha (21), Archford Tshuma (31) and an unidentified youth are being charged for malicious damage to property.

Prosecutor Mufaro Mageza told court that the four were arrested in the process of committing the alleged offence while armed with stones.

Mageza said the group was caught smashing motor vehicles, windscreens as well as barricading roads.

He opposed bail granting adding that police were still investigating the case.

“Police investigations are still underway. The demonstrations are still underway and the accused are likely to engage in violence if granted bail,” Mageza said.

“The law is clear. The accused will disturb public order and undermine peace.”

Their lawyer, Tinashe Runganga of Tanaka Law Chambers, under the instruction from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), argued that his clients should be released unconditionally unless there were compelling reasons to justify their continued detention.

“The state should provide compelling reasons, which are outside the case. Just because they were arrested on the same scene does not justify reasons to deny them bail. The state does not indicate who did what but just laid a blanket cover and it is just speculation,” argued Runganga.

Runganga also told that 15 other suspects were still being detained at Saucerstown police station and were are expected to appear in court this Friday.

The suspects are part of the 600 that have been arrested countrywide for allegedly taking part in violent skirmishes over fuel price increases and rising poverty.