Residents of the diamond-rich Marange area in Manicaland on Monday protested against the plunder of diamonds from the area, poor living conditions and lack of freedom of movement among other issues.
The protest was organised by the Centre For Natural Resource Government and was held at Bravo 1 Gate in the Chiadzwa area.
The residents argued that the proceeds from the diamonds are benefiting only a few elite people while they live in deplorable conditions. The villagers want the government to give them a fair share of the proceeds from the diamond sales in order to develop their area which they say is severely underdeveloped.
The Marange community also said that despite the fact that the diamonds were being exploited from their area, their children were being discriminated against and sidelined when it comes to employment. They claimed that people from the area are not being considered even for non-skilled jobs which did not require any academic qualifications.
They also alleged that they do not have freedom of movement as the area where they are staying has been declared a protected area and as a result the local police frequently demand national identification cards. Only people who have national identification cards with the suffix 75, which indicates the Marange district are allowed in the area. All visitors are required to be reported to the police.
However, armed soldiers and armed police who had dogs prevented the protestors from marching. The police fired warning shots into the air before firing tear gas canisters in order to disperse the protestors. The police argued that the protest had not been cleared under the Public Order Security Act (POSA). According to reports, the police has previously cleared the protest verbally before making an about turn when it came tto the written clearance.
Video Credit: Doug Coltart (@DougColtart)