, Harare, Zimbabwe, Sep 7 – Zimbabwe’s high court on Wednesday overturned a police ban on protests in the capital Harare after a challenge from activists involved in a surge of demonstrations against President Robert Mugabe.
Mugabe has vowed to crack down on the protests, which have erupted over recent months as Zimbabwe has been pitched into deepening economic crisis.
“The court has said the ban was unlawful,” Tendai Biti, a lawyer and opposition party leader among those who brought the case to court, told journalists.
“The judgement is a very brave judgement. We are very proud that the court recognised the power it has (and) importantly that courts will adjudicate matters without fear and favour.”
Mugabe, who has routinely crushed dissent since he came to power in 1980, recently criticised the country’s courts after several anti-government protests turned violent.
Judges authorised an opposition demonstration in Harare on August 26 which degenerated into clashes between opposition supporters and security forces.
Zimbabwe has suffered an economic crisis since the start of the century, with 90 percent of the population now not in formal employment.
The cash-strapped government has been slow to pay the salaries of public sector workers, including the military, while banks are running out of cash.