A police ban on protests in the central business district of the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, has been lifted by the country’s High Court, reports say, putting pressure on the authoritarian regime of frail 92-year-old dictator Robert Mugabe.
Anti-Mugabe protests intensified earlier this April, when thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in protest over the country’s declining economy. On July 6, demonstrators declared a national “stay-away” day to protest corruption and economic mismanagement under the Mugabe regime. Since then demonstrators and police have clashed on several occasions resulting in protesters being beaten, tear-gassed and water-cannoned.
According to local newspaper the Chronicle, the ban on protests was lifted because police had not consulted opposition members and civil-society groups before issuing the ban.
Demonstrators and lawyers welcomed the ruling. Stan Zvorwadza, one of the activists challenging the ban, told the BBC that protesters wished to demonstrate peacefully.
“My clients can now demonstrate today or tomorrow,” said Tendai Biti, Zvorwadza’s lawyer, in an interview with the BBC.