By Jonga Kandemiiri
HARARE – Riot police on Monday brutalised defenceless citizens protesting the delayed payment of December salaries and bonuses for civil servants.
They also detained three leaders from the Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe for allegedly leading the protest in Harare.
Rural Teachers’ Union president Obert Masaraure and his lieutenants Pride Mukono and Robson Chere were later released into the custody of their lawyer Gift Mtisi of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
The police will proceed by way of summons whenever they want the trio back in court. Lynette Mudehwe of the Zimbabwe Activists Alliance said the demonstrations were in solidarity with striking health workers.
Mudehwe added that they also wanted to express their displeasure over the government’s failure to pay civil servants December salaries and bonuses, among other issues.
She said they wanted to hand over petitions to Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Labour Minister Priscah Mupfumira but were surprised to find armed police blocking their way near parliament.
“We notified the police about our intentions on December 31, 2015, and they acknowledged receipt by signing at the back of the letter, but we were surprised to find riot police blocking our way,” said Mudehwe.
Those injured, including Rutendo Kawadza of the Zimbabwe Activists Alliance, were taken to the Avenues Clinic for treatment, according to Mudehwe. Studio 7 failed to get a comment from the police. VOA Studio 7