Video footage covered by independent sources who were able to capture the scene of violence perpetrated by the Zimbabwe police, has gone viral on social media.
This confirms claims by lawyers that almost 300 people including juveniles, have been detained by the police since the sudden rise of political unrest.
The police violence, one of which is known as falanga (beating of the soles of feet), was recorded in Epworth, an extremely poor suburb south-east of Harare.
The video unveiled how citizens were wriggling in pain as the riot police fiercely smashed their feet. A woman can be seen and heard crying as she receives her own feet-smashing in front of her infant.
Falanga was a torture by pro-Zanu-PF security officials, mostly around election time from 2000. Several opposition activists have been disabled by falanga.
WARNING: GRAPHIC FOOTAGE
Zimbabweans had earlier this month, organized a mass protest against their government and against lack of jobs and unpaid wages.
The country’s national stay-away day came after clashes between taxi drivers and the Zimbabwe police two days earlier. This led to the arrest of about 95 people who were later confirmed to be brutally treated while in detention.
Speaking on the violence of the riot police, a human rights activist said he would send the footage of the Epworth police violence to the United Nations.
“Zimbabwe police have disgraced themselves, again. And the UN should not use them any more,” she said.
Blaming the sudden rise of political violence on the current economic situations of the country, the activist condemned the acts by the police saying they were inhuman.
In addition, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, ZLHR, who were involved in securing the release of most arrested people, said high unemployment and shortage of funds have given rise to the protests.
“The problem we have is that because of high unemployment and cash shortages, it has become increasingly difficult for persons granted bail to pay it,” said Tinashe Mundawarara, manager of special projects at ZLHR.
Money And Food, Zimbabwe’s Main Challenge
Lack of cash and food in police cells are the two main problems faced by those arrested. Since the collapse of the Zimbabwean agricultural sector, the country has been highly dependent on South African goods.
The Zimbabwean government has no doubt, run short of money that it has been paying public salaries late all year. In the past two months, even soldiers (always paid first) received pay several days late.
This has also led to the rise in strikes by different departments in the country.
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Last week, teachers, nurses and some other civil servants went on a two-day strike in protest at the late delivery of their June salaries. They have since been paid, union officials say.
Banks, including South African and British banks in Zimbabwe, do not have enough cash to pay depositors, and all put limits on withdrawals.