RIOT police fired teargas and assaulted several MDC supporters who had gathered at the party’s headquarters in central Harare on Wednesday morning, where youthful leader Nelson Chamisa was expected to give his Hope of the Nation Address.
Chamisa failed to address his supporters after baton wielding police descended on them minutes after his arrival.
— Zimbabwe Independent (@Zimindependent) November 20, 2019
Several MDC supporters who gathered in defiance of a police ban were injured. Some passers-by were also injured as police randomly assaulted people around the party’s Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House headquarters and surrounding areas.
Some businesses, including banks, were forced to close as police fired teargas and assaulted passers-by.
The police had cordoned off the MDC headquarters and Africa Unity Square with water cannons by as early as 6am.
Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda said the attack on party supporters came as a surprise.
“It is surprising because we did everything we could to make sure that the police are aware of what we wanted to do. We had long meetings with the authorities and we don’t even know under what authority they are operating. It is certainly surprising. We told them this morning that they cannot ban the MDC because they are destroying the economy,” Sibanda said.
Police in August broke another MDC demonstration in Harare and other parts of Zimbabwe using brute force on demonstrators. Several MDC supporters were assaulted during the August protests while some were detained without trial.
Through the Hope of the Nation Address, Chamisa wanted to address the deteriorating economic challenges that Zimbabwe is facing.
Scenes of mayhem in Harare as police brutally unleash premeditated violence on peaceful @mdczimbabwe members gathered at the @mdczimbabwe HQ for the #HONA address by @nelsonchamisa #NewsDayZim @wisdomdzungairi @tapiwazivira @ninja_reezy pic.twitter.com/HDMdcptEI1
— NewsDay Zimbabwe (@NewsDayZimbabwe) November 20, 2019