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Take to Harare's Streets in Protest
October 03, 2004
A militant women's
group staged a wildcat demonstration in Harare today demanding stronger
action from neighbour South Africa to pressure Zimbabwe to resolve its
political and economic crisis.
The noisy demonstrators,
waving banners, handed in a petition at the South African embassy that
urged South African President Thabo Mbeki and his country to take a leading
role in forcing democratic reforms in Zimbabwe.
The militant Women
of Zimbabwe Arise group staged the protest and dispersed before police
arrived to quell the illegal gathering.
Zimbabwe are illegal without police approval under sweeping security laws.
The women did not have approval.
The women's loud chanting
and their banners demanded a return to human rights and the restoration
of the rule of law.
Anticipating a possible
police baton charge, one placard said: "You strike a woman, you strike
With political gatherings
routinely banned, pressure groups say they are secretly planning more
quick, wildcat protests to catch police off guard.
Jenni Williams, an
organiser of today's protest, said Mbeki's policy of "quiet diplomacy"
failed to ease state repression in Zimbabwe.
"We are killing
quiet diplomacy with our noise. We want more fire," Williams said.
In the past, the women's
group has protested against food shortages with mothers banging pots and
pans on the streets and has organised hymn singing and prayer vigils for
the victims of political violence.
Zimbabwe faces its
worst political and economic crisis since independence in 1980, with the
world's highest inflation and acute shortages of food, petrol and essential
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