There were skirmishes at the Harare magistrates court this morning following the sentencing of human rights defender, Makomborero Haruzivishe as police dispersed people including fellow activists who had come in solidarity and journalists conducting their duties.

A press briefing by the MDC-Alliance spokesperson, Fadzai Mahere was disrupted by the police citing COVID-19 protocols of social distancing.

The fracas started when an unidentified woman in the crowd accused an anti-riot police officer of improperly touching her while he was urging the crowd to disperse.

This infuriated activists who were in her presence, prompting them to demand justice for the woman.

The other police officers came to the rescue of the accused officer and whisked him to safety before anti-riot officers ran amok, beating everyone at the scene.

263Chat journalist, Samuel Takawira was beaten up by the police officers and sustained a hand injury as he filmed the skirmishes while another journalist, Kovedzai Takawira was also manhandled.

A magistrate court general hand worker, only identified as Mavhunga, who was also standing by the gate was also assaulted.

The incident has once again brought the police force’s treatment of human rights defenders into question.

Haruzivishe was jailed for an effective 14 months after being convicted of inciting public violence and resisting arrest.

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