Anti-government protests in Zimbabwe are taking unexpected and shocking turns as the military and police are arresting critics raising their voices against President Emmerson Mnangagwa's administration. Human rights activists are accusing the president of using COVID-19 lockdown rules as a cover to silence the dissent.

Thousands of people are criticizing the government, in turn facing arrests. According to MDC Alliance, the primary opposition party in Zimbabwe, dozens of officials have been arrested or gone into hiding fearing arrest. It has been revealed that the police are vandalizing the families of the people who are trying to evade arrest, opposition spokesman Tendai Biti told ABC News.

Zimbabwe protests
Zimbabwe protestsIBT Creative

'Hiding like a rat in my own country'

Investigative journalist and editor of ZimLive, Mdudzuzi Mathuthu revealed to The AP that he is in hiding. Mathuthu played a prominent role in exposing the alleged government corruption linked to COVID-19 PPEs and drugs.

"I am hiding like a rat in my own country for doing nothing more than my job," Mathuthu said. "Journalism is just a job, but in Zimbabwe, it can be a matter of life and death. They have not only come just after me, but my family as well."

"I am hiding like a rat in my own country for doing nothing more than my job," Mathuthu said. "Journalism is just a job, but in Zimbabwe, it can be a matter of life and death. They have not only come just after me, but my family as well."

The military is reportedly going after the family of the journalist to bring him out of hiding. Mathuthu's own nephew Tawanda Muchehiwa was abducted by the state security agents last week but dropped off near his home on Saturday after a judge ordered the police to produce him.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa
President Emmerson MnangagwaREUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Abduction, torture, arrests of critics

According to reports, more than 60 people have been arrested in links to the anti-government protests. Tsitsi Dangarembga, a renewed author, was arrested for participating in a peaceful protest before being released on bail after spending a night in jail.

Muchehiwa was reportedly tortured by the officials and is undergoing medical treatment. He received "severe injuries resulting in acute renal failure and severe tissue damage around the buttocks and under the feet," his lawyer Nqobani Sithole said.

#ZimbabweanLivesMatter Trends

A lot of users have taken to Twitter to express their anger over the violence in Zimbabwe. The hashtag #ZimbabweanLivesMatter has been trending on Twitter, with thousands of people expressing their views on the ongoing issue. Users condemn the suppression of freedom of speech and basic human rights.

#ZimbabweanLivesMatter
#ZimbabweanLivesMatter
#ZimbabweanLivesMatter
#ZimbabweanLivesMatterScreenshot