The woman, Thabita Taona, is a WOZA member. The man, Comfort Nyakura, was arrested after taking a photograph of the demonstration with the camera on his mobile phone. The third person arrested, journalist Andrison Manyere, was released earlier this afternoon with a caution. Lawyers from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) are in attendance. It is unclear at this stage what the two will be charged with.
It is not the first time that WOZA members have been arrested for asking for a better education for their children. The last time WOZA protested peacefully at the Ministry of Education in February 2009, they were brutally beaten by riot police and five members arrested. Nor is it the first time that a bystander has been arrested for merely observing a WOZA demonstration.
As with the demonstration in Bulawayo last week, the peaceful protestors received great encouragement from bystanders, both along the route and outside the Ministry. In fact, it is believed that Ministry officials were on their way to join the demonstration when the riot police arrived. Even the soldiers outside the Ministry of Defence next door to the Ministry of Education were vocal in their encouragement to the demonstrators. As the group sang tinoda dzidzo (we want education), bystanders were overheard congratulating the WOZA members for speaking out about this issue that is close to the heart of every Zimbabwean.