On the steps of the Magistrate’s Court in Harare, Zimbabwe, anti-riot police officers beat an elderly woman who is protesting for electoral reforms. On August 26th, 2016, peaceful protestors against President Robert Mugabe’s government received sanction from the Zimbabwean High Court to proceed with a march through the streets to deliver a petition to the offices of the electoral commission. Despite this court approval and Zimbabwe’s new constitution approved in 2013, which commits the government to ensure the right to freedom of assembly, police moved swiftly to disperse protestors using tear gas, water cannons and batons. President Mugabe has held power since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980 and, in recent months, there have been increasing protests against alleged human rights abuses, corruption, and a weakening economy.
Tafadzwa Ufumeli is a freelance photojournalist associated with NewsDay, a private daily newspaper in Zimbabwe.