Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) has vowed to hold unannounced protests in the future after the civic group’s efforts to comply with the law by notifying police have been in vain.
CiZC chairperson Peter Mutasa said this after police last week banned a prayer rally the 75-member alliance had planned for Harare’s Africa Unity Square, which is adjacent to the parliament building.
Police issued a ban on the demonstration citing provisions of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act which prohibited protests within 20 metres of the august house.
Activists had planned to register their concerns as well as petition the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and parliament to act on the resurgence of politically motivated violence and continued harassment of human rights defenders by the State.
ZimLive reports that it was the second time in a month that police have banned a planned protest by the group.
Following the latest ban, CiZC filed a court challenge but the matter had not been set down for determination by the High Court.
Mutasa said the police and High Court’s conduct has frustrated his organisation’s efforts to engage state institutions when planning to conduct peaceful protests in future. He told ZimLive:
We are heavily concerned about the attitude of the police and the High Court of Zimbabwe.
So, we are seeing a well-coordinated approach by State institutions to stifle and to suspend constitutional rights and this is quite sad.
What this will mean is we are going to be forced to go into the streets without notifying the police and we are also going to disengage discussions with the courts and use civil disobedience in a non-violent manner to disregard unjust laws.
Mutasa claims police are biased as they have been approving ZANU PF rallies or demonstrations while denying the same rights to civic groups and the opposition.