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Zimbabwe: Government Should Allow Protests, Re-Open Social Media
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.”
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.