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This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • Constitutional Amendment 18 of 2007 - Index of articles, opinion and anaylsis

  • WOZA take to the streets of Bulawayo today - 200 arrested - News and updates
    Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
    October 01, 2007

    Visit the special index of articles, analysis and opinion on Constitutional Amendment 18

    At 12pm today, hundreds of members of WOZA and MOZA marched through the city of Bulawayo. Representatives from Harare, Mutare, Masvingo and rural Insiza joined local members to demand 'peace - not piecemeal amendments.'

    The group of singing protestors marched from near St Mary's Cathedral, pausing outside to send messages of solidarity to Bishop Pius Ncube, whose courageous outspokenness against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe have often made him a target of the State. The group then progressed several blocks to Southampton House, the location of the Police Licensing Inspectorate, the office that receives and processes applications for peaceful gatherings.

    Several hundred members proceeded to sit down peacefully on the pavement outside Southampton House to await arrest, which was not long coming. Three armed police officers escorted a group of approximately 200 into the building where they still remain.

    Human rights lawyers are in attendance. Two mothers with babies that had also been arrested have been released.

    One young member that is known to police was separated from the others and taken by uniformed police officers to Drill Hall where she was questioned on why she had been talking to Magodonga Mahlangu, one of the WOZA leaders. After being made to do several push-ups, she was released.

    The protest comes two days after an all-stakeholders meeting with civic society and citizens was held in Bulawayo to deliberate on the implications of Constitutional Amendment Number 18 and the SADC-led mediation between the ruling ZANU PF and opposition MDC parties. The outcome of that conference was a complete rejection of piecemeal amendments to the current constitution and a renewed demand for a new, democratic and people-driven constitution-making process as the foundation for resolving the crisis in Zimbabwe.

    WOZA, as frontline women human rights defenders that have often been on the receiving end of police brutality for having the audacity to claim their constitutional rights of freedom of expression and assembly, are also demanding an end to violence as a prerequisite to any meaningful change. See '10 Steps to a New Zimbabwe'; WOZA's position on the mediation efforts.

    News update
    Monday 1st - 6pm

    158 arrested in Bulawayo today all released

    The 158 members arrested today in Bulawayo were all released late this afternoon. The 127 women and 31 men were held in Southampton House all afternoon. Police Internal Security Intelligence (PISI) officers questioned two leaders, Williams and Mahlangu whilst the others had their names recorded. Attempts were made to keep Williams and Mahlangu in custody but the rest of the members refused to be released without them and vocalised this. Two Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) officials, Maseko and Ndebele, also attended and recorded the life history of Williams, advising her that they would now be frequently visiting her home and monitoring her movements. None of the activists arrested were charged in the end.

    The message delivered by WOZA was delivered loud and clear and whilst we recognise that police restrained themselves from brutality today, WOZA will continue to protest for an end to violence against all Zimbabweans and for a constitution-making process that has people at heart.

    Visit WOZA fact sheet

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