US calls for restraint by both security forces and protesters in Zimbabwe


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The United States embassy in Harare has called on Zimbabwe’s security forces to respond to civil unrest professionally and with respect for human life and constitutional rights.

It also called on protesters to refrain from violence and threats of violence and which can only cause further economic hardship.

In a statement in response to protests that have rocked the country since Monday in protest against the 150 percent fuel price increase on Sunday, the embassy said: “The U.S. Embassy is concerned about reports of violence in Zimbabwe and urges all parties to exercise restraint and to make every effort to find a peaceful solution.

“We condemn any disproportionate use of force and call on Zimbabwe’s security forces to respond to civil unrest professionally and with respect for human life and constitutional rights.  We are also alarmed by credible reports that security forces are targeting and beating political activists and labor leaders.

“The United States strongly supports freedom of expression, freedom of association, and peaceful assembly.  People have the constitutional right to protest and express their views peacefully.

“We condemn acts of arson and looting and threats against citizens.

“We call on protesters to refrain from violence and threats of violence, which will only cause further economic hardship.

“We are concerned by the Zimbabwean government’s blocking of Internet services in the country January 15-16 and urge the restoration of access to social media sites and applications.

“We call on the Zimbabwean government to respect its constitutional and international legal obligations regarding the right to freedom of expression.”

The Zimbabwe government has blamed the violence on the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and civil society organisations most of which are funded by the United States.

Business has this year been calling for the lifting of US sanctions on Zimbabwe saying they are responsible for the economic crisis in the country.

Those who support the sanctions say the crisis is due to the mismanagement of the economy by the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front leadership.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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