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assault theatre artists
December 01, 2006
Police in Bulawayo on 28 November 2006
severely assaulted four street theatre artists for satirising Zimbabwe’s
worsening socio-economic crisis following the staging of a play
dubbed Indhlala (Hunger).
The four members of Umkhula theatre
group who were assaulted with batons and planks and ordered to roll
on the tarmac, were only released the next day without charges after
being accused of staging a play aimed at inciting people to revolt
against President Robert Mugabe.
The police also accused them of being
agents of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Police
in Bulawayo confirmed the arrests but denied assaulting the artists
saying they were arrested for "blocking the pavement".
On 13 September 2006 the police brutally
assaulted leaders of the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) ahead of planned nationwide
demonstrations to protest against the worsening economic hardships.
ZCTU secretary-general Wellington Chibhebhe was hospitalised after
sustaining serious head injuries following the brutal assaults in
condemned cells at Matapi Police Station in Harare.
In an interview with ZimOnline, one
of the artists said: "But we are just actors with nothing to
do with politics. We live on acting by capturing what is relevant
to people’s lives - and currently, hunger and long queues are the
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