Harare – Zimbabwe’s military and police are arresting scores of opposition members and activists after authorities thwarted an anti-government protest last week, according to rights groups.
The police have arrested more than 60 people so far in the continuing clampdown, said Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, which is providing lawyers for the arrested people.
Last week internationally known author Tsitsi Dangarembga was arrested during a peaceful protest and spent a night in police cells before being released on bail.
The main opposition, the MDC Alliance, says dozens of its officials have been arrested or have gone into hiding. Opposition spokesperson Tengdai Biti said if state agents do not find the person they want to arrest, they often vandalise their homes and harass their relatives.
Human rights groups accuse Presidengt Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration of clamping down on dissent under the guise of enforcing anti-Covid-19 lockdown rules, an accusation the police and government officials repeatedly deny.
On Monday, a judge postponed until Thursday a bail hearing for Hopewell Chin’ono, an investigative journalist who has been in jail for two weeks on accusation of mobilising the foiled protests.
Another journalist, Mduduzi Mathuthu is in hiding.
“I am hiding like a rat in my own country for doing nothing more than my job,” Mathuthu told The Associated Press Monday.
“Journalism is just a job, but in Zimbabwe it can be a matter of life and death. They have not only come just after me, but my family as well,” he added.