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arrested at WOZA human rights demonstration
Guma, SW Radio Africa
December 12, 2005
Five women from
the Women Of Zimbabwe
Arise (WOZA) pressure group were arrested on Saturday in Harare
during a protest march commemorating International Human Rights
Day. The group had gathered at Fourth Street in the city centre
and were headed for Nelson Mandela Avenue when police intercepted
the procession. Loise Grezia, Rosemary Mironga, Julia Chipehama,
Noria Kadhari and Monica Chimbiro were all briefly arrested before
police released them later in the day. The group alleges they were
assaulted whilst in custody and one police officer in particular,
known only as Mhondoro, led the assault. Due to a combination of
this assault and the police refusal to give them access to lawyers,
the women decided to negotiate the payment of Z$$25,000 admission
of guilt fines and were released around 5pm in the evening. WOZA
launched six separate protests around the country and even took
time to distribute their December Newsletter, which included an
open letter to the Zimbabwe Republic Police to stop arbitrary arrests
of WOZA women. The group also urged the police to uphold the 2001
Harare resolution of the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs
Co-operation Organisation (SARPCCO) regarding the code of conduct
for police officials.
group cited Article 1, which says 'in the performance of their duties,
police officials shall respect and protect human dignity and maintain
and uphold the human rights of all persons'. In Bulawayo the women
marched from Mabutweni Shopping Centre to the local police station
where they left placards and the open letter to the police. In Mpopoma,
the protest started at Msitheli High School and ended at Matshobana
Beer Garden. As the women dispersed, a police vehicle pursued some
of the protestors before giving up the chase.
they gathered at the shopping centre and marched towards Sizinda
Beer Garden while in Magwegwe, Pumula, Emakhandeni Nkulumane and
Luveve, the protests took place without incident. WOZA co-ordinator
Jenni Williams told Newsreel that hundreds of women protesters heeded
the call countrywide. They wore t-shirts calling on Zimbabweans
to 'Stop Violence against women and in the spirit of "Tough Love",
WOZA's brand of civil disobedience, the 'mothers of the nation'
defied the Public Order Security Act (POSA) and conducted their
protests without giving notification to the police.
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