Zimbabwe Police Arrest Opposition Official, Lawyer Over Protests

Godfrey Marawanyika and Brian Latham

(Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwean police arrested a senior opposition official and will charge him for failing to stop a protest last week in the capital, Harare, his lawyer said.

Amos Chibaya, the national organizing secretary of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change, was arrested on Thursday and “will appear in court today,” lawyer Obey Shava said by phone Friday.

Police also arrested lawyer Doug Coltart during a protest Friday by teachers outside a government office, according to his father, David Coltart, a founding member of the MDC and who sits on its executive committee. Coltart was in attendance as the teachers’ legal representative and was beaten before being detained, he said by phone.

A magistrate’s court later ordered Coltart be remanded in custody until a bail hearing on Monday.

The MDC last week called for nationwide protests over the deteriorating economic and political situation in the southern African country. Police, who banned the demonstrations, later used batons and teargas to disperse protesters who gathered in Harare. As many as 128 people were arrested. The renewed protests follow demonstrations earlier this year in which at least 12 people were killed in a violent crackdown by authorities.

Calls to national police spokesman Paul Nyathi weren’t immediately answered.

(Updates with lawyer’s continued detention in fourth paragraph.)

To contact the reporters on this story: Godfrey Marawanyika in Harare at gmarawanyika@bloomberg.net;Brian Latham in Harare at blatham@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net, Hilton Shone

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