Lawyer of the 39-year-old pastor Evan Mawarire confirmed the arrest, saying Mawarire remained in police custody.
The pastor’s loose organization going by the name #ThisFlag also confirmed on twitter that the pastor, who had earlier on gone to Central Police Station in Harare with his lawyer after the police summoned him there, had been charged.
Police spokesperson Charity Charamba was not immediately available for comment.
Thousands of people in Zimbabwe’s major cities heeded Mawarire’s call for a massive stayaway last Wednesday, while many others opted for not going to work as well out of fear for violence, following a bloody clash between mini bus operators and police two days ago.
The massive response, dubbed “Shutdown Zimbabwe” on social media, amounted to one of the largest display of public discontent against the authorities in the past two decades, as the country’s economy slipped towards stagnation and faced tremendous liquidity challenges.
Mawarire’s call for stayaway also coincided with a nationwide strike by teachers and junior doctors protesting a delay of their June salary payments.
President Mugabe responded in a public rally on Friday, urging for patience among the civil servants who were asked to consider the economic hardships the government was handling. Delayed salaries, however, were paid, ending the strike by the civil service personnel.
But Mawarire did not call it an end. He renewed the call for another stayaway this Wednesday and Thursday, this time, against police “brutality”, rampant corruption, and mismanagement.
Home Affairs Minister and secretary for administration in the ruling Zanu-PF party Ignatius Chombo said the authorities would not be threatened by the mass action and vowed to severely deal with those found on the wrong side of the law.
“Zanu-PF is focused on what it wants to do and cannot be shaken by these activities. We are the ruling party, and we will not accept anything short of law and order,” he said, adding that the security organs were working round the clock to put the situation under control.
The stayaway came on the heels of an arson of tax agency’s warehouse and a violent confrontation between protesters, mostly mini bus operators, and police in capital Harare. At least 200 suspects linked to these two incidents had been arrested. Enditem