Riot police assault innocent civilians in Bulawayo

A truck full of police in anti-riot gear is reported to have descended on revelers at an arts festival in Bulawayo on Wednesday, assaulting innocent civilians. An increased presence of uniformed police has also been reported in the Bulawayo city centre.

SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme, talked to victims who said the riot police were not provoked by anyone. Others said the attack may have been an attempt to prevent demonstrations against the Transport Minister Nicholas Goche, who was in the city centre on Wednesday.

“Goche as transport minister is not liked by railway workers in Bulawayo who were recently on strike,” Saungweme explained. He added that this was just speculation on the streets as no one really knows why riot police attacked the people.

Our correspondent said there is also speculation the police are preparing to shut down the city and monitor people’s movements, ahead of the ZANU PF conference taking place there in December.

As our correspondent filed this report another truckload of riot police, plate number ZRP 275-D, drove by.

Saungweme said the atmosphere is already feeling tense because of the increased police presence. “This always happens whenever ZANU PF has a rally or a function around here. People get assaulted just for being on the streets and no-one feels safe.”

We were not able to contact the Bulawayo police for comment.

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