By Staff Reporter
HARARE – Just hours after President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party issued a statement condemning xenophobic attacks in South Africa, riot police in Harare savagely assaulted a prominent human rights activist protesting the same issue.
A video posted on Nehanda TV showed riot police savagely beating up Sydney Chisi, a former spokesman of the Crisis in Zimbabwe coalition, who is also the Founder/ Director of the Youth in Democracy Initiative of Zimbabwe (YIDEZ).
Chisi was admitted in hospital and treated for injuries sustained during the beating. Several other protesters were also injured.
Chisi and other members of various civil society organizations had demonstrated at the South African embassy in Harare on Friday and handed over a petition to the Deputy Ambassador despite police attempts to block the protest.
Some of the placards challenged President Mugabe and his wife to speak out against the xenophobic violence that has claimed several lives in South Africa and led to the displacement of thousands of foreigners.
Mugabe chairs both Sadc and the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government.
Several Members of Parliament from across the political divide also went to the South African embassy demanding action against those engaging in xenophobic violence.
The reason for the attack on Chisi remains puzzling.
Only a few hours before Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo had said the xenophobic attacks in South Africa should be stopped forthwith.
“This barbarism must stop immediately otherwise our clarion call for unity in Sadc and the continent as a whole will be hollow.
“Zanu PF is alarmed by the xenophobic violence perpetrated on foreign nationals including hundreds of Zimbabweans living in South Africa,” Khaya Moyo, a former ambassador to South Africa, said.
“The brutal beating of Sydney Chisi by anti-riot police is abhorrent. It is against international standards on policing of peaceful demonstrations. This must stop,” said Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa.
“The unjustified attack on peaceful protesters today is one of many incidents where Zimbabwean police have shown total disregard for people’s human rights. The right to peacefully demonstrate and petition is enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe, as well as regional and international treaties to which Zimbabwe is a state party. The government must do everything in its power to bring suspected perpetrators to book,” said Kututwa.
Watch riot police savagely beating up Sydney Chisi