Tuesday, September 19, 2006

This is what happens when you defy Zim Government

THE beating stopped as the sun began to go down. After two-and-a-half hours, the fourteen men and one woman held at Matapi police station in Mbare township, Harare, had suffered five fractured arms, seven hand fractures, two sets of ruptured eardrums, fifteen cases of severe buttock injuries, deep soft-tissue bruising all over, and open lacerations.

The 15 included Wellington Chibebe, the leader of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), and senior officials of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

“As a case of police brutality on a group, it is the worst I’ve ever seen,” a doctor who helped to attend to them said.

President Mugabe’s security agencies are notorious for violent assault, but this was the first time that the top strata of the Opposition had been subjected to severe physical attack.

Some of the victims spoke for the first time yesterday about the assaults that took place after police broke up an attempted protest by the trade unions against the Government’s ruinous handling of the economy.

The savagery of the attacks is seen as indicating the jitteriness in the Government over its hold on power amid the desperate poverty into which President Mugabe has sunk Zimbabweans. “It was carried out as a deliberate, premeditated warning, from the highest level, to anyone else who tries mass protest, that this is what will happen to them,” a Western diplomatic source said....

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