Zimbabwe’s main opposition party has condemned police crackdown of a peaceful protest in the capital on Friday.
The Movement for Democratic Change leader, Nelson Chamisa said his party backed down from planned anti-government protests to avoid bloodshed but signalled that the opposition would continue its challenge to President Emmerson Mnanagwe.
“Today we didn’t want to risk people’s lives by continuing to be confrontational. Because if we had chosen to be confrontational, there would be blood in the streets, but we don’t want to walk on dead bodies to the resolution of our crisis. We can resolve our crisis through peace and that is what we pursue, said the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change Nelson Chamisa.”
Today we didn't want to risk people's lives by continuing to be confrontational. Because if we had chosen to be confrontational, there would be blood in the streets, but we don't want to walk on dead bodies to the resolution of our crisis. We can resolve our crisis through peace and that is what we pursue.
Police in Harare enforced a clampdown on dissent earlier on Friday, using batons, firing tear gas and water cannon to break up an opposition protest that authorities had declared illegal.
The street demonstration was to have been the first in a nationwide series of MDC organised protests set to continue next week.
“What you are going to see is a mutation of our strategy because when you are facing a confrontational regime, we must also use tactics that are going to be above them. They can’t be above the people, they can’t defeat the people. Ian Smith tried it and was defeated, Robert) Mugabe tried it and was defeated, President Emmerson Mnangagwa is trying it and he will be defeated, Chamisa noted.”
The party accuses Mnangagwa’s government of state-sponsored violence, corruption and economic mismanagement.