Zim Police beatings of anti-xenophobia protesters; activist Sydney Chisi fighting for his life

HARARE – The beating of peaceful protesters, including a prominent human rights activist, by Zimbabwean Police shows a complete disregard for the rule of law and a culture of impunity, said Amnesty International today.

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The organization is calling on the government to conduct an immediate, full, transparent and impartial investigation after dozens of police were captured on video beating up human rights activist Sydney Chisi with batons earlier today.

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“The brutal beating of Sydney Chisi by anti-riot police is abhorrent. It is against international standards on policing of peaceful demonstrations. This must stop,” said Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa.

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The brutal beating of Sydney Chisi by anti-riot police is abhorrent. It is against international standards on policing of peaceful demonstrations. This must stop.

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Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa.

Sydney Chisi was one of scores of protesters demonstrating outside the South African embassy in Harare against xenophobic violence in South Africa, where Zimbabweans, and other foreign nationals, have been targeted.

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Sydney Chisi was admitted in hospital and treated for injuries sustained during the beating. Several other protesters were also injured.

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“The unjustified attack on peaceful protesters today is one of many incidents where Zimbabwean police have shown total disregard for people’s human rights. The right to peacefully demonstrate and petition is enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe, as well as regional and international treaties to which Zimbabwe is a state party. The government must do everything in its power to bring suspected perpetrators to book,” said Noel Kututwa.

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Xenophobic attacks in South Africa have triggered protests in a number of African countries whose nationals have fallen victim. Amnesty International has documented a number of protests in Southern Africa, including in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.