WOZA Valentines protest disrupted by police

Two journalists were arrested on Tuesday as riot police broke up a Valentines Day demonstration by the pressure group, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA).

One of the coordinators, Magodonga Mahlangu, told SW Radio Africa that a journalist from the ZANU PF controlled Herald newspaper and freelance journalist Anderson Manyere were being held at Harare Central Police station. Several other journalists trying to cover the march were targeted.

Two different processions of WOZA members marched to Parliament building where they planned to hand over a ‘WOZA Moya’10th anniversary newsletter which documented the harsh conditions of beatings and arrests that the group have had to endure since it was formed.

Mahlangu told us a truckload of 10 riot police arrived and stood between them and Parliament building. For 20 minutes the two sides faced off while the women continued singing and chanting slogans. The police kept telling the women to disperse during this period.

A second procession of WOZA demonstrators arrived later and this was also met by another truckload of some 50 riot police. It was this second deployment of police that dispersed the crowds and police then began beating up people indiscriminately.

Mahlangu and fellow coordinator Jenni Williams are still awaiting the resolution of a court case in which the Mugabe regime is accusing them of ‘theft’ and ‘kidnapping’. Both have already sought the intervention of the High Court to review the proceedings currently underway in the Magistrates Court.

Meanwhile Amnesty International has launched an online protest plan, encouraging people to “call on the Zimbabwean authorities to stop the harassment of WOZA members.”

The Amnesty website allows people to enter their details and be e-mailed a letter of protest which they can fax to the Police Deputy Commissioner-General in Harare. Those willing to participate are free to edit the letter and write it in their own words, Amnesty said. – SW Radio Africa News

Post published in: Politics

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