Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) condemns the violence that characterised the Bulawayo protests today 14 January 2019.
While we always reiterated that people have the Constitutional right to demonstrate and petition, we always equally emphasise that the right has obligations – and mainly the obligation to demonstrate and protest peacefully.
Violent incidents witnessed today by both the protestors and the police are regrettable.
The protestors were wrong to barricade roads, destroy road signage, loot and burn shops, and stone private vehicles.
Equally we note with concern the wrong behaviour of police who were firing teargas indiscriminately as if to incite the public. We noted incidences where the police fired teargas to ordinary residents who were not protesting, to private residencies and even to public insitutions.
Once again we reiterated the need for nonviolent discipline by the protesting public and professional behaviour by the law enforcement agents.