Zimbabwe’s High Court has ruled that a two week ban on opposition protests in the capital was unconstitutional. The court however said it would suspend the protest for a week.
Opposition activists filed a case opposing the decision by police to impose a two-week ban on protests in the capital Harare. The court agreed with the petitioners that the move by the police violated their rights under the constitution.
The Zimbabwean police last week announced the ban on demonstrations with the reason that they lacked the capacity to contain any public disorder during public demonstrations.
“The capacity of the police will not be sufficient to avoid any public disorder caused during public demonstrations in the center of Harare,” police chief Newbert Saunyama said.
The ban took effect on Friday, September 2 and was expected to run till Friday, September 16, 2016.
Many people have been arrested and others injured in the demonstrations marked by violence as police fire tear gas and used batons to disperse protesters.
The opposition postponed a planned protest last Friday to demand electoral reforms towards the general elections in 2018. Since June this year, Zimbabwe has experienced a series of protests against the economic policies of the government.
President Mugabe warns judges
The ruling comes at a time when president Robert Mugabe openly blamed judges in the country for allowing demonstrations that turned violent in Harare. He was speaking to the ruling party Zanu-PF’s youth assembly over the weekend.
Mugabe said with the recurrent violence during demonstrations, judges paid “reckless disregard to the peace of the country.”
“They dare not be negligent in their decisions when requests are made by people who want to demonstrate. In light of the violence that we had earlier on, surely they should have taken note to the fact that when permission was given four days ago, there was violence; when it was given two days ago, there was violence,” he warned.