Harare, February 06, 2015 – Zimbabwean police have banned animal rights activists from staging a protest over the impending export of baby elephants to China and the United Arab Emirates.
Local animal rights campaigners had planned to stage a demonstration in Harare on Saturday to protest against the depletion, exploitation and exportation of baby elephants and other wild animals.
The protesters had at the end of last month notified the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) that they would take to the streets of Harare to express their dissatisfaction with the planned export of wildlife which they said would deplete the country’s wildlife heritage.
But the ZRP on Friday banned the animal rights activists’ protest and made wild claims that it poses a security threat to the country.
“However, as much as we appreciate your right to demonstrate according to Section 59 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, we regret to inform you that your protest has not been sanctioned. This is because your demonstration has proved to be a security threat as indications on the ground have shown that people affected by the animals will not be happy about the protest. Therefore, according to Section 86 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe we are limiting your right to demonstrate,” reads part of the ZRP letter written to Lynne Saunders, one of the organisers of the demonstration by Chief Superintendent Nesbert Saunyama, which was seen by Radio VOP.
Zimbabwean authorities recently confirmed plans to export 62 elephants to beef up revenue and help control the rising elephant population in the country.
The confirmation by the government has angered a group of local animal rights campaigners including the Zimbabwe Conservation Taskforce and other international sympathisers who have launched online protests against the planned exports