By Nkanyiso Ncube
The European Union (EU) delegation in Zimbabwe has condemned recent violence protests that rocked the Harare urging protesters to exercise their Constitutional right peacefully.
In a statement, the EU delegation encouraged all political parties to shun violence as it could lead to civil unrest.
“The EU expresses its concern at the marked increase of violence at public protests and demonstrations in the recent weeks in Zimbabwe”.
“The freedom to demonstration and petition is enshrined in the Constitution along other fundamental rights. These rights must be exercised peacefully and respected by the authorities,” reads part of the statement.
The EU delegation castigated police brutality towards protesters and urged the Zimbabwe Republic Police to uphold the Constitutional laws without bias.
“The EU expresses concern at the violent conduct that some element within the Zimbabwe Republic Police in responding to recent violent protests and demonstrations,” the EU said.
Last Friday protesters brought the centre of Zimbabwe’s capital to a standstill and fought running battles with police during one of the biggest demonstrations against President Robert Mugabe regime.
The chaotic scenes came after 18 opposition groups and parties under the banner National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) wanted to hand over a petition to Zimbabwe Electoral Commission calling for electoral reforms.
The parties mobilized their supporters for a march aimed at reforming the country’s widely-discredited electoral system before national elections in 2018.
The authorities in Harare tried to block the protest, but it was given the go-ahead by the High Court. Even so, police used tear gas and water cannons to distract protesters which led them to burn the city.