Press release

Zimbabwe: Government Should Allow Protests, Re-Open Social Media

Following demonstrations protesting dramatically higher fuel costs, the government of Zimbabwe has fired on citizens and shut down social media platforms. 

Washington

In response to Zimbabwean authorities’ firing on demonstrators protesting dramatically higher fuel costs, and the government then shutting down social media platforms, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“We condemn the Zimbabwe government’s attempt to suppress opposition to its economic policies by using excessive force against demonstrators, causing at least three deaths, and by blocking the social media platforms that citizens use to freely express their views,” said Jon Temin, director for Africa programs at Freedom House.

“These government actions are part of an alarming pattern marked by violence, following similar actions after the July 30 presidential elections,” Temin said. “Hashtags such as #ShutdownZimbabwe have become calls to action by citizens, to show their  dissatisfaction and debate government policies, a debate the government has sought to silence. “The government, under the custodianship of Vice President Constantino Chiwenga while President Emmerson Mnangagwa is abroad, has repeatedly resorted to harsh measures against demonstrators. It is urgent that authorities respect citizens’ political rights and civil liberties, including access to information.”

Zimbabwe is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2018, and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2018.