Five protesters were yesterday each jailed five years after being found guilty of participating in a wave of demonstrations dubbed Shutdown Zimbabwe last month.

Simbarashe Nyamadzawo, 22, Gilbert Jasimoni, 34, Abisha Musakanda, 24, George Tomu, 26, and Danny Sere, 27, were convicted of public violence charges before Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya and were each sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.

A juvenile, 16, who was part of the gang, was sentenced to receive five strokes of the cane before the same court last week. Mujaya suspended one-and-a-half years of the sentence leaving the protesters an effective three-and-a-half years behind bars. In passing sentence Mujaya considered that the convicted persons were first offenders but said they had committed a very serious offence that could only be justified by a custodial sentence.

“Property was destroyed and public order and free movement of traffic disturbed at the instance of the accused persons,” Mujaya said.

“The accused persons even went on to attack police officers who attended the scenes and showed disregard of the law. They undermined the authority of the police. One of the police officers who testified in this trial sustained a visible scar on the face.”

-Daily News