Harare – His brother was abducted and has never been found: now Zimbabwe activist Patson Dzamara is in hospital after he was allegedly abducted and assaulted hours ahead of a planned demonstration against President Robert Mugabe‘s government’s controversial new bank notes, the #ThisFlag protest movement said Friday.
“Citizens alert: last night the State came down brutally on Activists. Many are injured.
@DrPatson currently in Avenues Clinic,” @ThisFlag1980 said in a tweet.
The group posted a photo of the back of a man alleged to be author and activist Dzamara, clearly bearing the purple marks of bruising, most likely after being beaten.
See the picture below.
Dzamara and other activists were due to stage a demonstration on Friday morning against bond notes, the new bank notes about to be introduced by the central bank that many believe will plunge Zimbabwe back into the dark days of hyperinflation and shortages seen up to 2008. Few believe the central bank’s line that the notes will encourage exports and plug foreign currency leakages.
It was not immediately clear which other activists were targeted. Unconfirmed reports say Dzamara’s car and that of another activist have been found burnt in Harare.
Dzamara’s brother Itai was abducted in March last year after he staged a number of brave one-man protests in central Harare calling for Mugabe, who is now 92 to step down. Patson Dzamara and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change say state agents were behind his disappearance. The government denies this.
Cash-strapped Zimbabwe has seen rising public discontent this year, finally brought out into the open by a Harare pastor called Evan Mawarire who launched #ThisFlag on Facebook in April. He has since had to leave the country with his family.
Poignantly @ThisFlag1980 posted on Thursday news of Mawarire’s new baby daughter, born in exile. “Whatever you do in life always fight for your family,” Mawarire tweeted in a birth announcement that will only underline
#Zimbabwe activist @DrPatson badly beaten in hospital right now. He is part of the group organising today’s Anti-government demo
why he chose to flee, especially given the brutality of these latest attacks against opponents of the longtime president.
The UK embassy expressed its concern over the abductions, saying in a tweet Friday morning: “The UK is very concerned by reports of abductions of civil society activists. Rule of law, and freedom of expression crucial for Zimbabwes future.”
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