Five opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activists, including one pedestrian, were arrested by the police in Harare, allegedly for blocking a pavement and disturbing the flow of human traffic in central Harare.
The activists were charged for public nuisance but they claimed that they were arrested for wearing their party’s yellow T-shirts.
Early this week, the Nelson Chamisa-led CCC abandoned its MDC Alliance name and red colour and unveiled yellow as its official colour.
Human rights lawyer Lynnet Phiri said the six were released after paying a fine of $2 000 each for obstruction of traffic. He said:
They have been released. They paid a $2 000 fine. Right now, we are taking Erasmus (Nyandoro) who was assaulted by the police on Thursday to the hospital with the assistance of the Counselling Services Unit.
CCC deputy spokesperson Gift “Ostallos” Sibiza decried the arrest of the party activists, describing them as “a clear reflection of how the State wants to restrict dissenting voices.”
However, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi disputed the claims, saying the six had committed a crime by blocking a pavement along Julius Nyerere Way and Robert Mugabe Avenue. He said:
It is really unfortunate that people run to social media and post about yellow regalia.
They were arrested for blocking a pavement as they were chanting party slogans, so the police intervened and others ran away while some were arrested.
So the arrest has truly nothing to do with their regalia.