On Friday, hundreds of citizens who took part in an anti-government Zimbabwe protest have been detained on charges of disturbing public order. This is happening even though the United Nations has urged the government and people of the African country to stop the brutal security crackdown as well as internet blackout.
According to figures released by the government, three people died in the ruckus that broke out after an announcement of a hike of 150 per cent in the fuel prices was made by President Emmerson Mnangagwa. However, some of the activists, as well as lawyers in the country have said the death toll was higher than the one announced by the government. They also claim violent measures were implemented by the security forces while carrying out arrests to control the crowd.
Popular Pastor Evan Mawarire, an activist, who came into reckoning after he criticised the rule of former President Robert Mugabe, was among the 400 persons who on Friday, were charged by magistrates. He had spearheaded a nationwide Zimbabwe protest in 2016.
He is likely to be charged with charges that are serious, which is of government subversion after he encouraged citizens of Zimbabwe with the use of social media, to comply with calls from the various unions in the country for a strike. Beatrice Mtetwa, his counsel, however have said that she would file an appeal for him to be released on the provision of bail to the High Court. If the popular pastor is convicted, he runs the risk of spending up to 20 years behind the bars.
Following the chaos, internet across the country was blacked out for most part of the day. Gradually, the authorities started lifting the ban, which had knocked out some sections of electronic media throughout the country, starting Tuesday.
The United Nations have called for peace, and have urged the Zimbabwean government to exercise some restraint in dealing with the protesting citizens.
On Friday, Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary General, told a news conference that the UN has worries over the use of excess violence in tackling the demonstrations that are going on in Zimbabwe.
Immediately a trace of normalcy was observed, with civilians going against all odds to stock up supplies while the streets were still patrolled by the police.