The Human Rights Commission has called on the Zambia Police Service to investigate and arrest the suspects in connection with the brutal assault of the Patriots for Economic Progress during a peaceful demonstration against the alleged overpricing of 42 fire engines in Lusaka yesterday.
The Commission has confirmed that the PEP President, Sean Tembo, reported the case of being attacked and robbed by some known and unknown people who were allegedly armed with dangerous weapons such as guns and machetes on Cairo Road in Lusaka.
Commission spokesperson Mwelwa Muleya said it is therefore expected that in accordance with the rule of law, the police will swiftly act on the reported crime in order to end impunity and lawlessness that has in the past resulted in grave violation of human rights such as deaths and injuries of victims.
Mr Muleya said the fact that Mr. Tembo reportedly provided the Police with names of suspected assailants should relatively make the work of the police easy in initiating investigations and bringing the suspected culprits to account through the due process of the law.
He said the Commission has engaged the police command to find out why there was no police protection or policing of the lawful public procession as required by law.
Mr Muleya said the Police have however, the police have indicated that there was a last minute advice to Mr. Tembo that the police was not going to be available to monitor the procession because they had a sudden commitment.
He said the Commission is deeply concerned at the growing and apparently justified public perception that the police deliberately and maliciously neglect or refuse to protect individuals with divergent or dissenting views in order to justify their routine violation of the right to freedom of assembly through the abuse of the Public Order Act.
Mr Muleya said the right to freedom of expression of divergent views and opinions is the foundation of a multi-party democracy and a pluralistic society such as Zambia, and the state has an obligation to respect and protect that right without any form of discrimination.
He has called for political tolerance, civility and respect for the rule of law and human rights.
Mr Muleya said those who commit crimes must be punished to avoid creating a fertile ground for impunity, civil disobedience and anarchy, which is inimical to national interest.
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