Zimbabwe court upholds ban on anti-Mugabe protests
Zimbabwe’s High Court on Tuesday upheld a police ban on anti-government street protests in Harare after weeks of demonstrations calling for President Robert Mugabe to step down, a lawyer said.
Tendai Biti, the lawyer for a coalition of opposition parties who were challenging the police order, confirmed the case had been dismissed.
The parties are set to appeal the decision in the Supreme Court.
Biti blasted the police ban, due to run until mid-October, as “an arbitrary infringement of people’s rights”.
Police in Harare last month ordered a month-long ban on demonstrations in the capital’s central business district following a string of anti-government protests.
Dozens of activists were beaten and arrested for participating in those marches.
Mugabe, 92, has often used brutal force to silence his opponents, and has warned the protesters they were “playing a dangerous game”.
Opposition to Mugabe’s 36-year reign has grown in recent months with a surge of public demonstrations, triggered by an economic crisis that has left banks short of cash and the government struggling to pay its workers.
Soldiers and civil servants have regularly been paid late this year, heightening pressure on Mugabe, who came to power in 1980 and has vowed to stand for re-election in 2018.
A one-day strike in July, called by trade unions and Christian pastor Evan Mawarire, shut down offices, schools and some government departments.