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Riot police block doctors from marching to Parliament, standoff ensues

by Associated Press
18 Sep 2019 at 10:34hrs | Views
Doctors protesting the abduction of a union leader have been met by a line of police in Harare as fears grow about government repression.

The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association says its president Peter Magombeyi was abducted on Saturday after calling for a pay strike.

Magombeyi left home in Budiriro, a suburb of Harare, after 8PM on September 14 saying he was going for a prayer meeting, colleagues say. At 10.19PM on the same night, he sent a message to a WhatsApp group for doctors saying he was being abducted by three men.

The government denies responsibility for his abduction and instead blames a "third force".

Doctors and nurses at government hospitals have vowed they will not work until Magombeyi is safely returned to his family, adding fresh woe to the country's health care system which has largely collapsed in recent years along with the economy.

The doctors on Wednesday were trying to march from Parirenyatwa Hospital to Parliament in central Harare where they intended to handover a petition.

A line of riot police armed with truncheons blocked the road, and the standoff was still continuing at mid-day.

Several government critics in recent weeks have been abducted from their homes, tortured and warned by suspected state security agents to back off from anti-government actions.

Critics have expressed concern that the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa is becoming more repressive than that of long-time leader Robert Mugabe, who died earlier this month.

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Source - Associated Press