Zimbabwe lawyers: Police defy new constitution

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — An independent lawyers group says Zimbabwe’s police have already breached the nation’s new constitution by breaking up a demonstration by women activists and banning a youth march to mark the United Nations International Peace Day.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said Friday the reformed constitution adopted ahead of July elections guaranteed freedoms to demonstrate and gather.

But on Thursday baton-flailing police dispersed women activists at the Harare parliament demanding “peace and development” and action to improve living standards for the poorest in the troubled economy.

Youth leaders said Friday police described the country’s current political environment as not “conducive” for a march commemorating the worldwide U.N. peace day on Saturday.

President Robert Mugabe, in power since 1980, won the disputed July 31 polls that the opposition claims were widely rigged.

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