WOZA Caught Police Unaware

WOZA  Caught  Police Unaware

BULAWAYO:--Police were caught flatfooted this morning  in Zimbabwe's second largest city, Bulawayo by about 1500 Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) activists who took to the streets in commemoration of this year's Valentines Day which is on Thursday.

The WOZA activists – who sang songs denouncing Zanu-PF led government for plunging the country into an economic crisis – marched about six blocks of streets of Bulawayo, distributing fliers demanding a better future for the children.

No one was arrested during the lunch hour marches that brought business to a halt and jammed traffic in the Bulawayo Central Business District (CBD). Police who are known to brutally put down any street protest were nowhere to be seen.

According to WOZA spokesperson, Jenny Williams, the march was in commemoration of this year’s Valentines Day. Williams said the pressure group was this year pressing for a better future for the country’s children she said had been made bleak by the Zanu-PF led government.

Every parent wants the best for their child. Yet in Zimbabwe of today, our children are being sacrificed on the altar of political power by a bunch of corrupt thieves. Our children expect us to defend their right to a brighter future, Williams said.

WOZA has been pioneering women’s, children’s and poor people’s rights and challenging undemocratic laws which the police were using to arbitrarily arrest anyone who protests about the failings of government.

The march by the WOZA activists comes days after members of the pressure group were arrested in Harare last Thursday for attending the National Peoples’ Convention that started on Friday.

The police descended on the WOZA members in Africa Unity Square, where they had gone due to delays checking into their hotel.

Riot police arrived in several vehicles and the WOZA women had their bags  searched. Williams said the police found WOZA scarves and literature and took the activists to Harare Central where the assaults took place.

Last month, police arrested MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai after the opposition led formation called for a march to protest against Zimbabwe’s economic crisis and to demand a new constitution before elections due in March.

The police, who arrested Tsvangirai over the march but later released him without charge, initially allowed the march only to go back on their decision, saying they were banning the march because the MDC had broken an agreement reached at a meeting last week.

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