Zimbabwe’s high court on Wednesday ordered the release on bail of protest leader Promise Mkwananzi ahead of mass anti-government demonstrations planned later this week.
Mkwananzi, one of the most prominent activists campaigning for President Robert Mugabe to step down, was arrested during protests on August 26 and charged with public violence.
“He was given $100 bail,” his lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara told AFP. “He was told to surrender his passport and to report at the police law and order section every Friday.”
Mkwananzi, spokesman for the pressure group Tajamuka (We are agitated), has called for a national strike to pile pressure on Mugabe, who has vowed to end a wave of protests against his regime.
Further rallies are planned for Saturday, despite a police ban on demonstrations in the capital Harare.
Tajamuka also said Wednesday that another of its activists, actor Sylvanos Mudzvova, was being treated in hospital after being abducted, beaten up by assailants and dumped outside the city.
“Six men forced their way into his house,” said Denford Ngadziore, a member of Tajamuka.
“He was found after nearly five hours. He is being treated for head, rib and leg injuries.
“We suspect it’s ZANU-PF people who have been targeting Tajamuka activists. The regime has scaled up its violence against opponents.”
The Zimbabwe Human Right NGO Forum said it had received reports that suspected supporters of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party were attacking people believed to have joined anti-government protests.
“The perpetrators were moving door-to-door in some cases forcing entry into victims’ houses,” the forum said in a statement, adding four victims had been beaten with barbed wire whips and thick sticks.
Anti-government protests have surged in Zimbabwe over recent months, triggered by worsening economic problems and opposition to Mugabe, 92, who has ruled since 1980.