EIGHTEEN protesters, who allegedly destroyed a police station in Marondera, were yesterday remanded in custody by magistrate Pasipanodya Maturure as the trial went into its second day.
BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
The accused, who were represented by Marondera lawyer David Dhumbura, are facing charges of public violence and will return to court today for continuation of trial.
In their defence, all the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges and claimed that they were arrested by soldiers during a crackdown in Rujeko and Dombotombo high-density suburbs.
According to court papers, on January 15, at around 11am, the accused persons, acting in connivance with other accomplices, gathered at Corner Nyaguwe Road and Chikomo Drive, Dombotombo in Marondera. They barricaded the road with stones and started burning tyres while throwing stones at police officers as they demonstrated against the hike in fuel prices.
They allegedly advanced towards Dombotombo Police Station while throwing stones and the number of demonstrators kept on growing.
Eventually, they allegedly broke into the police station and ransacked all the three station offices, destroying furniture, records and stole property, including cellphones, riot shields, helmets, hand-held radios, a base station radio, batons, an HP laptop, cash, riot gear, tear smoke canisters and bicycles.
They also allegedly assaulted police officers on duty, but were later arrested by police reinforcements as they were running away from the station.
The value of the damaged and stolen property is approximately $30 000.
John Hama and Rumbidzai Katsande represented the State.
Thirteen more people were brought to court yesterday, facing similar charges.