Prominent Zimbabwe lawyer Fadzayi Mahere was among a number of anti-government activists arrested on Friday in central Harare – even though they weren’t actually marching against President Robert Mugabe’s government, the #ThisFlag protest movement said.
Critics of Mugabe had planned a march to prove against the bank notes his central bank is intent upon introducing later this month – but police turned out in force to stop activists taking to the streets, it is understood.
Mahere and others were “sitting quietly” when they were arrested in Africa Unity Square, which is near parliament, according to @ThisFlag1980, the protest movement begun by a Harare pastor earlier this year.
They were later taken to Harare Central Police Station, eyewitnesses say.
Mahere, a Cambridge – and University of Zimbabwe- trained lawyer, posted a selfie earlier on Friday with the words: “We come in peace! Africa Unity Square
In a separate incident that has raised widespread concerns, activist Patson Dzamara (the brother of missing activist Itai Dzamara) was abducted and assaulted hours before the demo was due to start, lawyers say. He was on Friday receiving treatment in hospital.
The EU delegation to Zimbabwe released a statement saying acts of “intimidation, violence, abduction and torture” have much increased in Zimbabwe in recent months.