POLICE in Harare on Thursday arrested five opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activists, including one pedestrian, on a charge of public nuisance, but they claimed they were nabbed for wearing their party’s yellow T-shirts.
Police confirmed the arrest, saying the opposition members were arrested for blocking a pavement and disturbing flow of human traffic in central Harare.
Early this week, the Nelson Chamisa-led CCC party unveiled yellow as its official colour.
Human rights lawyer Lynnet Phiri said the six were released after paying a fine of $2 000 each for disorderly conduct.
“They have been released. They paid a $2 000 fine. Right now, we are taking Erasmus (Nyandoro) who was assaulted by the police on Thursday to the hospital with the assistance of the Counselling Services Unit,” Phiri said.
CCC deputy spokesperson Gift “Ostallos” Sibiza condemned the arrest of the party activists.
“The arrest of our youth leaders who were wearing yellow is a clear reflection of how the State wants to restrict descending voices. You cannot criminalise yellow,” he said.
“It is a reflection of a brighter future for the people of Zimbabwe and it is a clear sign that the regime has no strategy on how to deal with the new.”
But national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi disputed the claims, saying the six had blocked a pavement along Julius Nyerere Way and Robert Mugabe Avenue.
“It is really unfortunate that people run to social media and post about yellow regalia,” Nyathi said.
“They were arrested for blocking a pavement as they were chanting party slogans, so the police intervened and others ran away while some were arrested. So the arrest has truly nothing to do with their regalia.”