POLICE in Harare cracked down on protestors who gathered on street corners of the city in violation of a ban on the mass action after Zimbabwe’s main opposition group has called off anti-government at the last minute when it failed to overturn the police ban in the country’s High Court.
Some protesters who had already gathered in the city were violently dispersed by police.
According to the BBC, the Zimbabwean Police announced the banning of the protests on Thursday evening. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) applied to the High Court to overturn the ban, but it was upheld by a judge on Friday morning.
Speaking to the media after the court decision, MDC deputy leader Tendai Biti said the party would not appeal the judge’s ruling, but added that the ban had exposed the government’s “true colours”.
“The constitution guarantees the right to demonstration… yet this fascist regime has denied and proscribed this right to the people of Zimbabwe,” Biti told local media houses.
“We have jumped from the frying pan into the fire after the coup… We don’t accept the conduct of this regime or the conduct of President Emmerson] Mnangagwa.”
Mr Biti however said that protests planned for next week in other cities would still go ahead.
Some opposition supporters had already gathered by the time the MDC announced the suspension.
But police quickly moved in to disperse the crowds.
Video and still pictures from the scene show officers beating protesters with batons as they chased them from the streets.