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Byo police block genocide commemorations

Bulawayo police today barred local pressure group, Ibhetshu Likazulu from commemorating World Genocide Day saying the event was likely to cause disharmony and division among the society.

In a letter written to the pressure group, the police said,  “This Office acknowledges receipt of your notification dated the 21st of January 2013 in which you intend to commemorate the so-called World Genocide Day on the 26th of January 2013 at the Presbyterian Church,”

“I regret to inform you that this office cannot sanction the event due to the following reasons, the agenda of the meeting is likely to cause disharmony and division among the society. The district is overstretched with other commitments on that day hence may not have enough manpower to cover the event.”

Ibhetshu likaZulu acting chairperson, Melusi Moyo told Radio Dialogue that is disappointing that the police continue to violate people’s rights to associate and to assemble.

“ We are going to appeal, we want to get an order through the courts because we want this event to happen; if possible this coming weekend,” Moyo said.

“The police also said the other reason for barring the event was that it will raise emotions, we want to find out what this means.”

Moyo said the organisation believes the annual event was likely stopped to due to reports that elections could be held this year.

According to Ibhetshu likaZulu coordinator, Mbuso Fuzwayo the police who had been notified in advance kept asking for organisational documents but only to be served by a letter barring the commemorations this morning.

Ibhetshu likaZulu wanted to commemorate Gukurahundi under the World Genocide Day banner which they claimed is an annual international day recognised on the 25th of January.

However, the day does not appear recognised by the United Nations. The General Assembly yesterday had a ceremony marking the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.

In a video message on the day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said,

“Acts of genocide illustrate the depths of evil to which individuals and whole societies can descend, but the examples of the brave men and women we celebrate today also demonstrate the capacity of humankind for good, even during the darkest of days.”

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