Police teargas CCC rally goers after attack on officers, threats to burn vehicles
By News 24
- Zimbabwean police have stopped a Citizens Coalition for Change rally which began after the agreed deadline.
- The police teargassed rally goers after an officer was attacked and injured.
- Political parties have been urged to stick to agreed times for rallies.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police claims opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) supporters wanted to burn two police vehicles and attacked officers for stopping their rally at Masvingo’s Mamutse Stadium on Sunday.
This was the reason given for officers responding by teargassing the crowd.
The police claimed it all began when they wanted to shut down the rally.
The regulating authority had sanctioned the CCC rally at the stadium as duly notified by the party’s convenor, Martin Mureri, to start at 10:00 and end at around 16:00.
However, the CCC leadership reneged on its notification times.
The rally only started at 16:45 with an address by party leader Nelson Chamisa, the police said in a statement.
They then engaged the CCC leadership about the matter who allegedly apologised for the delay and agreed to disperse the crowd for security reasons.
But the crowd would not listen to the directive.
“The crowd became rowdy and started throwing stones at the police officers while threatening to set on fire two police vehicles.
“One police officer sustained injuries as a result of the stone attack,” the police added.
In media reports, the CCC candidate for Masvingo Urban, Martin Mureri, described the police’s decision to use teargas for crowd control as a barbaric act and urged officers to respect citizens.
The police defended its approach.
“The police had no option but to use teargas to disperse the violent crowd. This was safely done with no injuries to the public or any damage to property,” they said.
With just a week before elections, political parties are working around the clock to reach some parts of the country where they have not sold their pitches to the electorate.
But the police strongly advised against parties staging multiple rallies in one day, which at times were likely to spill into the night, because “this will assist in the effective maintenance of law and order in the country”.
In terms of the Electoral Act, campaigning ends 24 hours before general elections.