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members arrested and brutally assaulted
Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
October 23, 2003
On the 22nd
October 2003 NCA youths staged an impromptu but peaceful demonstration
in Harare. The purpose of the demonstration was to push forward
the constitutional reform agenda as well as to protest against the
general political, social and economic repression in Zimbabwe.
procession was impromptu more than 500 people took part in the demonstration.
As the NCA youths
and other citizens expressed themselves peacefully in Africa Unity
Square, armed riot police details descended on them. The armed police
that was blended by a contingent of the Zanu PF youth brigade set
dogs on the peaceful demonstrators and pounced on them with truncheons.
Among the NCA members who were brutally assaulted and arrested by
the police were Dr Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA Chairperson, Joy Mabenge,
the NCA Regional Chairperson for Harare and Steve Mutsaurwa, the
Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) Secretary for Research
400 demonstrators were arrested and taken to Harare Central Police
Station where they could not fit into the cells. While at Harare
Central Police Station, the NCA members were handed to members of
the Zimbabwe Republic Police Support Unit who brutally assaulted
them. They were not formally charged with any offence.
At 23 00 hours,
the police took 40 youths from among the demonstrators and dumped
them at 1 Commando Barracks along the Airport Road. Another 40 were
ferried in armoured trucks and were abandoned in the Mount Hampden
area. Others, whose numbers and whereabouts are still to be ascertained,
are feared to have been sent to some "police stations"
At the time
this statement was being prepared, Dr Madhuku, Joy Mabenge and 78
other NCA members were still in police custody at Harare Central.
However, they have not been formally charged with any crime. Another
38 people who we suspect to be members of the public are also still
in police custody in connection with the demonstration. This group
joined the demonstration following the arrest and brutalisation
of Dr Madhuku.
Also in police
custody is Mr Blessing Zulu, an independent journalist and two other
journalists from The Herald who were covering the demonstration.
condemn the wanton acts of brutality that was met on the NCA members,
the general public and journalists by the police, the same police
that is supposed to protect these people as they discharge their
innocent daily duties and obligations. Let it be known to the increasingly
counter professional Zimbabwe Republic Police that their acts of
medieval brutality will not cow the NCA and the people of Zimbabwe
into cowardly submission.
The NCA, working
with and for the citizens of Zimbabwe will continue with its legitimate
forms of protest until the government unconditionally accepts the
pertinence of the constitutional reform agenda. Yesterday's action
is part of our programme "Keep on Knocking" in which we
will keep knocking on the government doors over the need for a democratic
constitution in Zimbabwe.
Forty (40) arrested and assaulted NCA youths have been sent for
medical examination by two provate practitioners. The findings of
the practitioners will soon be made public.
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