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Zimbabwe police break up Harare demo
Prince Nyathi, ZimOnline
September 15, 2007

HARARE - Zimbabwean police yesterday broke up a peaceful march by little-known Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe (ROHRZim) and arrested 11 members of the organisation who were demonstrating against a worsening economic crisis.

Riot police brutally assaulted the ROHRZim members in central Harare after disrupting their march meant to protest deteriorating economic conditions, food shortages and state repression.

The eleven, who were part of a group of activists, were severely assaulted before they were bundled into a waiting police truck and taken to Harare Central Police Station.

Other demonstrators managed to escape after the heavily armed police broke up the march.

ROHRZim national coordinator Tichanzii Gandanga yesterday vowed to press on with protests until there was positive response from the government and insisted that President Robert Mugabe's strong-arm tactics only served to galvanise opposition against his administration.

"We are saying to the President, address the economic crisis because people need food on the table but he is sending the police to beat us up," said Gandanga.

ROHRZim is a new human rights organisation formed five months ago and it trains and educates people about their socio-political and economic rights.

Human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama is representing the activists and was by last night battling to access his clients.

Muchadehama could not be reached for comment on the arrest of his clients.

Gandanga accused Mugabe of gross human rights abuse as well as being architect of the current economic meltdown, which has seen at least four out of every five Zimbabweans being unemployed.

Early this month, RORHZim members were among opposition supporters barred from attending the memorial service for the late Movement for Democratic Change national chairman Isaac Matongo in Masvingo.

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