Twenty-one people – who were arrested in connection with Wednesday’s violence that saw at least six people shot dead by the army and many others injured – have been ordered by a local court to spend the weekend in prison.
The 21 people were arrested by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers on Thursday and charged with committing public violence following protests staged in Harare after the announcement of parliamentary results that gave ZANU PF a two-thirds majority.
The protesters aligned to the MDC Alliance led by 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa, who is now disputing the outcome of the elections, demanded that results for the presidential race be announced immediately.
Tragedy struck when the army was brought onto the city streets to disperse the protesters. In a shocking move, soldiers fired live rounds at unarmed people killing at least six of them and wounding many others.
A seventh person is thought to have died of gunshot wounds on Friday at a Chitungwiza hospital.
On Saturday, the 21 accused, who are represented by Denford Halimani, Gift Mtisi, Kossam Ncube and Lizwe Jamela of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, appeared in court.
It emerged that the accused were arrested after some ZRP officers, armed with a search warrant, raided the opposition MDC Alliance party offices in the capital, Harare.
The police were searching for grenades, stones, unlicensed firearms, ammunition, computers, computer accessories and some subversive material allegedly possessed by party leaders.
The MDC Alliance has denied having anything illegal and has instead accused the police of trying to find the evidence the party claims it has that shows the polls won by ZANU PF leader and incumbent president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, were rigged.
However, the ZRP insists those arrested were involved in acts of public violence.
Harare Magistrate Nyasha Vhitorini said she “will entertain” the accused’s bail applications on Monday. – African News Agency (ANA)