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distrupt WOZA march on International Day of Peace
of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
September 22, 2005
OVER SEVEN HUNDRED
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) took to the streets of Harare and Bulawayo
at noon yesterday, 21 September International Day of Peace. The peaceful
women defied the Public Order Security Act (POSA) which calls for organisations
to notify Police ahead of gatherings. Women marched under the theme Peace
not Poverty and sang songs highlighting hunger and abuse of their rights.
WOZA was formed to raise the voice of women within the framework of the
current governance and economic crisis in Zimbabwe. A spokesperson for
the organisers, (nameless for security reasons) said, "Once again, Zimbabweans
who witnessed our protests saw peaceful women speaking out. We work to
make injustices visible and yesterday as is usual in Zimbabwe, Police
disturbed the peace. We call on them to stop using POSA to take away our
constitutional right to freedoms of assembly and expression. If they heed
our call their can be a sustainable form of peace not poverty and oppression.
We call on the authorities to stop Operation Murambatsvina which is still
ongoing as this insensitive so called clean up is making the poor much
In Harare, 250 women started peacefully at Market square and marched the
5 city blocks towards their targeted destination of Town House. They sang
"Tine nzara" (We are hungry). As they approached Town House, about 7 Riot
Police approached and when the women peacefully sat down, they started
to beat one woman, telling her to run away like her colleagues. She remained
seated until the officer was told by his colleagues to rather beat those
women running away. Two women have attended medical treatment for baton
inflicted assaults. Although the letter to the Town Clerk, co signed with
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA), called for an end to Operation
Murambatsvina was not directly delivered to Town House, copies were handed
out as the women marched. Women also left their placards at the entrance
to Town House. No women were arrested.
In Bulawayo, over 450 women converged close to the Zimbabwe Electricity
supply Authority (ZESA) offices to start their procession. They selected
to start at ZESA, so as to deliver a warning regarding the constant increases
of electricity tariffs perpetuating their poverty. The target for Bulawayo
women was Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) offices at Southampton House
in Main St / 9th Avenue. The peacefully marched the five city blocks there
and upon arrival chanted their slogans and left their placards at the
entrance. They sang 'Amalungelo' (Our rights). Women dispersed but three
were arrested by plain clothes officers as they walked away. Another 10
women were arrested at St Mary's Cathedral three blocks away. One of the
women was an innocent bystander.
The women spent the night in custody and lawyers were granted access 22
September. The women are under pressure to pay admission of guilt fines
but are insisting on being charged and taken to court. The lawyer is hopeful
they will complete the finger printing and photographing process and be
taken to court later today.
WOZA also pay tribute to the growing courage of the people who stop to
watch, stop their cars to get leaflets and even join in. We say well done
Zimbabweans. Yesterday two men were overhead by one of our leaders. Their
conversation went like this. "Do you see muscles? (Pointing to the protest).
Yes you tell the truth, we men just talk (moves his mouth making talking
sounds) pretending to have muscles - these are the real muscles".
Meanwhile, three different WOZA women arrested on 28 May for a demonstration
on hunger appeared in Court 22 September for the third time for Trial.
The trial was again postponed to 19 October 2005.
the WOZA fact
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