Harare – Police in central Harare on Thursday detained a freelance journalist and 25 other people during a protest against President Robert Mugabe’s government, lawyers said.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) group named the journalist as Andrison Manyere, 40.
He was released after being charged under Zimbabwe’s Criminal Law Act for “allegedly participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of peace or bigotry”, the group said in a statement. Manyere, who was previously detained in 2008, denies the charge.
Thursday’s demonstration appears to have been small. Protesters carried hand-made posters saying “Mugabe is a monster” and “Mugabe press ex[it] button.”
Lawyer Obey Shava of ZLHR said late Thursday that not all of the other 25 people detained were members of the opposition.
“Some of them were just caught in the crossfire. It’s the same charge as that of Andrison,” he said in a phone interview.
“We’ve been told that they won’t be released today. They will go to court and they’ll only be released upon the granting of bail by the courts,” Shava added.
News of the arrests comes after police on Sunday detained 16 people, including a MDC MP who tried to attend an opposition rally in Harare South. Police had earlier said the rally could not go ahead.
The ZLHR warned on Thursday that the Zimbabwe authorities were intensifying their attacks on media workers following the arrests of three reporters working for the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper last week. Three other reporters were also briefly detained in October, the group said.
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