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more women protesters arrested in Harare
September 30, 2004
Harare - Police
yesterday arrested seven more women, who were part of a group of
female activists on a 440 kilometre march from Bulawayo to Harare
to protest against a proposed new law that will restrict Non-Governmental
Organisations (NGOs) in Zimbabwe.
The women were
arrested in the capital and were still being held at Harare central
police station by late last night. Another group of 62 activists
arrested on Tuesday was also last night still being held by police
in the towns of Chegutu and Kadoma.
Wayne Bvudzijena refused to say when the women, who are being charged
with violating the Public Order and Security Act, will be brought
before the courts. The security law requires Zimbabweans to notify
police first before gathering to discuss politics or engaging in
of a civic group alliance, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, told
ZimOnline that police officers at Harare Central police station
had said they were waiting for orders from their superiors on what
to do with the protestors.
The police have
told us that this is a political issue which can only be dealt with
at the top. Hence they are waiting for official communication from
the police headquarters," the official said.
The women, all
of them members of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise pressure group, said
their march was meant to educate ordinary Zimbabweans about how
the proposed NGO law will adversely affect their lives. They also
planned to hold demonstrations at Parliament and hand in a petition
urging legislators to block the NGO Bill.
The Bill proposes
the setting up of an NGO Council that will register civic bodies
in the country. Civic society activists fear the state-appointed
council could be used to deregister and shut down NGOs deemed critical
of government policies. Under the proposed new law, NGOs will be
barred from carrying out voter education while those wishing to
undertake human rights work will be prohibited from receiving foreign
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