Harare — RIGHTS groups have decried the continual killing of protesters by Zimbabwean police.
The outcry follows law enforcers shooting dead two people after clashes sparked by a government ban on vendors and minibus drivers in the capital Harare.
The ban, which was later revoked, came into effect last Thursday with government arguing the moves were aimed at “decongesting” the central business district.
Angered by the decision, informal traders and commuters besieged the Harare Central Police Station and reportedly threw stones and set alight some vehicles as Zimbabwe Republic Police members reacted by firing teargas canisters.
The police opened fire as the crowds become agitated.
Two people were shot dead while several others, including police officers, were injured and hospitalised.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) denounced the use of lethal force as well as the mob justice by members of the public.
“This illegitimate conduct of the ZRP members is a serious threat to national security,” the rights group stated.
“While members of the public may have felt aggrieved by the ZRP’s actions, mob justice does not justify their response and doesn’t entitle them to take the law into their hands.”
Amnesty International said authorities must promptly order an independent and impartial investigation into the killings, and prosecute any police officers proven responsible for the tragedy.
Acting Police Commissioner, Godwin Matanga, said a probe was underway.
“Perpetrators will be brought to book. There will be no sacred cows,” Matanga said.
Zimbabwean police and the public have a history of running battles.
These have intensified in recent years as vendors resist bans in major cities. Vending is on the increase owing to rampant unemployment.