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Cosatu protest 'warming up'
March 18, 2005

Johannesburg - A second demonstration at Beit Bridge border post by the Congress of SA Trade Unions attracted about 400 people, twice as many as the first, said the organisers on Thursday. Miriam Ramadwa, Cosatu's deputy provincial secretary said: "There are many people today. We are picketing and demonstrating about 200m from the border post." Superintendent Mohale Ramatseba agreed that there were many more people at the protest than last time. He said: "It has been peaceful." The demonstration was part of a series of Cosatu protests against the Zimbabwean government's abuse of worker's rights. The Zimbabwe government's insistence that the coming elections there would be free and fair was also farcical, the union federation asserts. Demonstrations outside the Zimbabwean embassy in Pretoria on Wednesday only attracted a handful of protestors. The action would culminate in a march and night vigil on March 30, the day before the elections. Zimbabwe's ambassador to South Africa Simon Moyo had been brushing off all of Cosatu's protests. He said: "Zimbabwe is a sovereign state and no amount of picketing will ever revert it to be a colony again. We are free forever and the elections will be held in Zimbabwe." Cosatu originally planned larger demonstrations at Beit Bridge - and border blockades. However, permission for this sort of action was refused - the demonstrations had to take place within the municipal limits of Musina and the Road Traffic Act prohibits the wilful blocking of public roads.

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