27 June 2017

Zimbabwe: Pics - Mawarire Remains in Custody, As Evicted Zim University Students Shelter in Church

#ThisFlag protest leader Evan Mawarire faced a second night in police custody on Tuesday after police charged him with crimes against public order, his lawyer said.

Mawarire was arrested on Monday while addressing University of Zimbabwe medical students at a gathering to protest a recent hike in tuition fees.

'Denies the allegations'

"He's still in custody and he's been formally charged with participating in a public gathering for the purposes of committing public violence," defence lawyer Harrison Nkomo told News24.

The crime carries a fine or a five-year jail term on conviction.

"He obviously denies the allegations," said Nkomo, adding that the police would likely take Mawarire to court on Wednesday.

On Monday Mawarire told cheering, placard-wielding medical students that the recent fees hike was "an injustice" and that "fees must definitely fall".

Hand over blankets

The university accused some of the protesters of throwing stones, and ordered the immediate eviction of all medical students from the university's halls of residence.

Pictures shared on social media on Monday evening showed students with their bags packed, and some huddled together in the dark.

"UZ medical students had to hand over their blankets before they were kicked out of the residence into the cold winter's night," tweeted human rights lawyer, Doug Coltart.

Tweeted law lecturer and writer, Alex Magaisa: "Does the UZ Administration not know that arbitrary evictions are unconstitutional?"

Appeals were made on Tuesday for well-wishers to deliver food to a church in Harare's Avondale suburb, where some of the evicted students had taken shelter.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights is understood to be preparing an urgent application to challenge the eviction of the students.

600 students affected

The private NewsDay reports that 600 students have been evicted.

The medical students claimed their fees have been hiked to well over $1 000 per semester. The university's registrar, Sergeant Chevo said only third year medical students were paying $900 for a 30-week-long semester.

News24

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