Feelings ran high as Zimbabwean exiles demonstrated outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London on Wednesday in support of the two-day #ShutdownZimbabwe called by Pastor Evan Mawarire of the #ThisFlag protest movement.
Demonstrators – some draped in the Zimbabwe flag – demanded that charges be dropped against Pastor Mawarire, who was arrested in Harare on Tuesday accused of inciting violence.
One poster read: ’36 years of freedom: no free speech, no freedom. Free Evan Mawarire’. Another poster read ‘No more injustice, no more corruption, no more poverty, no more Mugabe’.
About 150 people were there to hear a demand that there should be no western aid to prop up the Mugabe regime. The demand was made by Ephraim Tapa of the Zimbabwe Vigil who is also president of ROHR (Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe).
Tapa said ‘We say no to money for Mugabe and Zanu PF. We don’t trust them. They will buy more tear gas, more water cannons, more military weapons, more helicopters.
‘Any loans from the west must be given only to a legitimate regime or they will not be honoured. We want politicalreforms, economic reforms. We want Mugabe to go and a transitional authority to organise free and fair elections monitored by the international community’.
Tapa called for the release of all those arrested in the ongoing unrest informed by social media such as #ThisFlag, Tajamuka (we have arisen), Occupy Africa Unity Square, Hatichada (enough is enough) and others including Linda Masarire of ROHR and those arrested in Beit Bridge and elsewhere.
Among the demonstrators were many women banging pots and pans with sticks ahead of the ‘Beat the pot’ protest to be held on Saturday which will be observed by the Vigil.
During the protest which went on for more than two hours, a black Mercedes with the number plate ZIM 1 remained stationary outside the Embassy. Perhaps the Ambassador ‘stayed away’.
Zimbabwe Vigil Co-ordinators
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe.
The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http:/www.zimvigil.co.uk.