#ThisFlag Pastor Evan Mawarire arrested again after attacking Mugabe's government

ReutersHandcuffed Pastor Evan Mawarire arrives at court after he was arrested in Harare, Zimbabwe on June 28, 2017.

Zimbabwe's #ThisFlag Pastor Evan Mawarire has been arrested again – just as he finished preaching in Harare on Sunday.

The arrest came after Mawarire urged fellow Zimbabweans to stand up against the government's economic measures in a post on Facebook.

As he was preaching, he tweeted: 'I'm just about to finish preaching and I'm told the police are waiting for me outside.'

He also posted a video on Facebook, where he had posted his original video attacking Mugabe's government for economic policies that have among other things led to renewed fuel shortages.

Those who protested his arrest included Zimbabwe Economic Freedom Fighters who in a press release said they deplore the arrest: 'Any citizen of Zimbabwe has a constitutional right to peacefully protest. As such Mawarire and other democratic forces have a right to protest. All Zimbabweans are free to be spokes persons of the economically oppressed and exploited.

'This will enable all of us to ask and answer questions: where have we come from? And where are we going economically, socially and politically? These are questions of the moment and demand clear, resolute answers from all of us including Pastor Mawarire and other opposition parties, if we are to march boldly to economic recovery and greatness.

'ZEFF stands with those seeking economic freedom, democratic change in our country. Like us who were arrested for expressing the right of freedom of expression, Mawarire is indeed a victim of similar undemocratic and unjust practices by this government. We say to the authorities Stop it!!'

Harrison Nkomo of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights told New Zimbabwe.com: 'We are at the Harare Central police station where the police have charged him with inciting people to commit public violence.'

Mawarire's own lawyer told Reuters on Sunday he was arrested as he stepped down from his pulpit and charged with subversion after his Facebook post attacking the government of Mugabe, who is 93. The charge carries a possible sentence of life imprisonment.

Mawarire posted his Facebook live video after the reemergence of food, fuel and other shortages, leading to panic buying. Mawarire was already facing subversion charges over protests in 2016. Sunday's arrest is his third. 

The United States embassy said on its website that it will monitor his trial and called for an end to arbitrary arrests and 'intimidation' for political purposes.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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