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attack on trade unionists: Remembering September 13, 2006
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)
September 13, 2007
September 2006, thousands of workers around the country took
part in the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) demonstration
against poverty afflicting 80% of Zimbabweans. They were demanding
wages that were linked to the Poverty Datum Line (PDL) and Government's
commitment to fight inflation. They also wanted to benefit from
the HIV and AIDS fund through free distribution of anti-retroviral
drugs. They also demanded a stop in the implementation of the compulsory
National Health Insurance Scheme that was to be administered by
the National Social Security Authority (NSSA).
The result of the action
shocked the world. With tacit approval from State, a number of trade
unionists were battered and tortured in the streets and police cells.
President Robert Mugabe approved the beatings. He told those that
were gathered at the Zimbabwe Mission in Cairo that:
"If you want an
excuse for being killed, be my guest go into the streets and demonstrate.
The police were right in dealing sternly with Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions leaders during their demonstration . . . because
the trade unionists want to become a law unto themselves. We cannot
have a situation where people decide to sit in places not allowed
and when the police remove them, they say no. We can't have
that, that is a revolt to the system. Vamwe vaakuchema kuti tarohwa,
ehe unodashurwa. When the police say move, move. If you don't
move, you invite the police to use force".
were particularly serious for those who were detained at Matapi
Police Station. Below are the summaries of injuries, confirmed by
doctors, of those detained at Matapi:
a fracture on the left hand, 5th finger.
bruising on the back due to blunt object.
haematomata. Multiple linear marks on thighs and buttocks.
Radiu, Ulnar and Phalanx due to blunt object
on the head, as well as bruises all over the body a blunt object.
bruising on the back, buttocks, legs, thighs and chest wall.
finger on the left hand and below the knee
bruises on both sides of the body, left fore arm.
finger on the right hand
bruising on the back and fore arm due to blunt object.
fracture on right small finger.
bruising on the back, buttocks, upper and lower limps.
Radius and Ulna
erythematous lesions on the back, buttocks and upper limp.
available as of yet
bruises and swelling on the back and right wrist.
buttocks and erythematous
traumatic wounds of the lesions of the back and thighs.
erythematous lesions on face, back buttock, legs. Abrasion on
both fibula and crushed injury of the left foot.
bruising of thighs, back and buttocks. Tenderness of the right
elbow joint and left ankle.
of left ulna and ankle.
and leg has swelling and tenderness.
Lawyers for Human Rights Access to Justice Series: In Defense
of the Right to Organise: Trade Unions as Human Rights Defenders
Besides the above, a
number of citizens were beaten up and some suffered severe injuries.
Today we remember the gallant trade unionists who are at the forefront
of defending the right of workers under immense state brutality.
Some of the injured have become permanently disabled.
Visit the ZCTU
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