Harare – Two journalists injured by police on Friday in a crackdown on protesters were shot with rubber bullets, their editor and the main journalists’ union said.
Reporters Mugove Tafirenyika and Brighton Goko, of the private Daily News, were admitted to a private Harare clinic, and at least one of them is in intensive care.
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“The brutal conduct by the riot police should have no place in a civilised society such as hours,” said Hama Saburi, Editor-in-Chief of the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe that publishes the Daily News.
“It is deplorable, shameful, disgraceful, and totally uncalled for.”
He said his two staffers were injured while covering a protest by Tajamuka activists and “riot police indiscriminately fired rubber bullets at protesters”.
Rights groups say at least five people were injured during the skirmishes pitting riot police against the protesters, who were angry at the chronic cash shortages.
The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) condemned the police action. It said union officials had tried to visit the reporters in hospital on Friday but were prevented from doing so as the two were “receiving delicate medical attention”.
“It is bizarrely beginning to look like any police officer who beats up or shoots any journalist is given some form of reward,” ZUJ Secretary General Foster Dongozi said in a statement. “Otherwise how do we explain the blood on the floor?”
Police have not yet commented on the alleged shooting of the journalists.