Zimbabwe Foreign Affairs minister defends police

Harare-Foreign Affairs Minister, Sibusiso Moyo has said the international community has a right to comment about the recently police response to opposition demonstrators.

Responding to a question during a post cabinet briefing on whether statements from the European Union would scupper attempts to lobby for the removal of sanctions, Moyo said re-engagement was a process and that sanctions were outdated.

“Yes I have just heard about those comments by a number of capitals but that is their independent positions. Our position is that sanctions are outdated” said Minister Moyo

On the issue of police reaction to thwart the demonstrations he said the force had its own way of assessing situations.

“To try and bring the issue of police reaction, the police is an arm of the state which makes its own assessment and deals with situations as they assess.

“They made a legal position. It was challenged in court and unfortunately it was not successful. Thereafter, they (MDC) proceeded with the demonstration which was now fundamentally an illegal demonstration in terms of the law” he said

Moyo said had the demonstrators invaded the President’s office would the police fold their hands.

“It is a very subjective matter to say at what point when the protestors wanted to Munhumutapa building. What could the police have done except throw smoke. I think we must be clear here about the circumstance on the ground. We always as government desire that the police should use commensurate force in response to demonstrations”

The opposition led demonstrations have been banned and this has drawn widespread condemnation from many quarters including the European Union who said intimidation and physical attacks were a violation of human rights.

“The Zimbabwe Constitution guarantees the right to personal security from violence and prohibits physical or psychological torture. The Heads of Mission urge the authorities to respect these fundamental rights and to hold perpetrators of violence legally responsible” said the EU

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