By Mary Taruvinga, Senior Reporter
CRISIS in Zimbabwe Coalition Director, Peter Mutasa, has said in future activists will go in the streets for anti-government protests without notifying the police.
This follows consecutive banning of demonstrations against the government by the police and courts.
On Friday, the grouping of NGOs under Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition were barred from holding peaceful protests and a prayer rally at Africa Unity Square.
Their demands were also that all state institutions must abide by the Constitution, which guarantees fair wages and benefits for everyone.
However, the police banned the prayer Thursday and descended on the streets close to the prayer venue on Friday.
Mutasa said they have no other option.
“We are gravely concerned by the attitude of the police and the courts, the High Court of Zimbabwe,” he said following the flop.
“We rushed to the High Court on an urgent chamber application which was supposed to be heard yesterday, but up to now, the registrar has not contacted our lawyers and we have not appeared before the court. We are seeing a well coordinated approach by state institutions to stifle and to suspend constitutional rights and this is quite sad.
“What this will mean is we will be forced to go into the streets without notifying the police. We are also going to disengage from discussions with the police and the courts and use civil disobedience in a non violent manner to disregard unjust laws,” said Mutasa.
Protests in Zimbabwe in recent years ended up deadly before anti-government activists decided to do stay-away protests, in which people remain in their homes to avoid injuries, arrests and loss of lives.
On 6 July 2016, national “stay-away” protests, organised over the Internet via WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook social messaging platforms, using mainly the #ZimShutDown2016, #Tajamuka and #ThisFlag hashtags, took place in Zimbabwe, following fears of an economic collapse amid calls for the late former President, Robert Mugabe’s resignation.
These were organised by the #ThisFlag movement, the Tajamuka/Sesjikile campaign and other groups.
On 7 July 2016, Zimbabwean authorities arrested dozens of protesters as anti-government protests spread across the country.
The same happened in January 2020 when Zimbaweans embarked on a stay way following fuel price hikes.
In July 2020, scores of activists, including Job Sikhala, Hopewell Chinóno, Fadzai Mahere, Tsitsi Dangarembgwa among others, ended up being locked up on allegations of inciting public violence.
Since then, many intended demonstrations suffered flops due to fear.