Zimbabwe Journalist Injured in Police, Vendors Street Skirmishes

Lovejoy Mutongwiza

A Zimbabwean journalist has been injured in street skirmishes between the police and vendors in the country’s capital, Harare, where state security agents were using teargas to disperse angry informal traders.

Lovejoy Mutongwiza of 263Chat, who was hit by a teargas canister while covering the removal of the vendors from the streets, is said to be receiving medical care at a local hospital.

According to 263 Nigel Mugamu 263Chat, founder and chief executive officer, Mutongwiza ran for dear life when police started beating up vendors and hid in the organization’s offices where a teargas canister was tossed by one of the policemen.

“The majority of the @263Chat team were in the office at the time. The tear gas canister was fired into the office and the officials blocked the door so the team couldn’t escape. My team escaped via the window. The actual canister still on the floor in the @263Chat office. None of us can get into the office. The smell of the tear gas is still heavy in the air.”

Police were not immediately available for comment.

263Chat is a Zimbabwean organization which encourages people to participate in “progressive national dialogue.”