Zimbabwe: MDC Demo Called Off - but Supporters Besiege Harare

Harare was turned into a war-zone mid-morning Friday following the High Court's decision to technically reject the opposition MDC's application to have a prohibition ban imposed by police on its planned demonstration.

While officially the party announced it had called off the protest march, supporters still turned up into the central business district in their hundreds with running battles breaking out with hordes of police who had tried to cordon off Africa Unity Square without success.

High Court Judge Justice Joseph Musakwa dismissed MDC application before he referred the lawyers back to the magistrate court to appeal.

From Africa Unity Square to Harvest House, the MDC headquarters in central Harare the capital turned into a virtual warzone but the protestors returned to the planned venue triggering a stampeded.

A woman was tripped and injured in the process while videos of police beating up protestors began circulating on social media.

Information Ministry spoksperson Nick Mangwana said government had taken note of the injured woman.

"We note an incident where an unidentified woman was injured during a stampede at the corner of Jason Moyo and Sam Nunjoma Roads when the police tried to disperse an illegal demonstration. The woman was taken to hospital and efforts are underway to establish her condition," said Mangwana in a short statement.

In an video circulating on social media a policeman is seen stamping on the woman's head as she lay prostate on the ground.

Police then used teargas to disperse the crowd that had gathered in Africa Unity Square forcing shops in the vicinity to shutdown.

Earlier MDC vice president and lawyer Tendai Biti said they were disappointed with Justice Musakwa's ruling.

"We were within our rights to make our chamber application. We appeared this morning before Musakwa. We argued comprehensively that the issuance of the police prohibiting order was unlawful. The order must be made within seven days from the day a notification is made. Notification was given on the 5th of August so the seven days lapsed on the 12th," said Biti.

Biti added: "We differ with the ruling of the High Court. The High Court is the home of original and superior jurisdiction... but we differ respectfully with its ruling. We will not appeal at the magistrates' court because we do not accept the correctness of the ruling with great respect."

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