Back to Index
90 WOZA activists arrested and released in Tuesday demo
Lance Guma, SW Radio Africa
November 07, 2007
Over 90 activists
from women's pressure group WOZA
and its male wing MOZA were arrested on Tuesday in Harare before
being released the same day in the evening. The group was protesting
over a variety of issues including unaffordable school fees, power
and water shortages and escalating state sponsored violence against
pro-democracy activists. Human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama confirmed
the arrest of at least 98 activists by lunchtime on the day. The
protesters marched from First Street along Nkwame Nkrumah until
police intercepted them at the corner of Nelson Mandela and Sam
The protesters held up
placards and distributed fliers to motorists and pedestrians in
the city centre. Anti-riot police then converged on the marchers
and ordered them to sit on the pavement outside Standard Chartered
Bank, which is opposite the Anglican Cathedral. Some of the placards
had quotes from Steve Biko, 'You can put out a candle light, but
once the light becomes a blaze it is difficult to extinguish.'
Our correspondent, Simon
Muchemwa, reports that only two protesters a man and a woman were
assaulted for protesting alone after their friends had been arrested.
The male protester was immediately whisked away with 17 others in
a B18 police truck leaving the rest seated. The others who included
WOZA leader, Jenni Williams, walked all the way to Harare Central
Police station under the watchful eye of the police. By 1400hrs
Aleck Muchadehama, a member of Zimbabwe Lawyers For Human Rights,
was at the station trying to ascertain the condition of the arrested.
In a surprising development
however a Chief superintendent Madzingo (Acting Officer Commanding
CID Law and order) at Harare Central police station ordered the
release of the activists saying they had a right to demonstrate.
Madzingo is said to have angrily reprimanded his officers in front
of the WOZA/MOZA activists branding them overzealous. Muchadehama
also confirmed to Newsreel that Madzingo said the women had genuine
grievances, which merited attention. Madzingo however told WOZA
leader, Jenni Williams, to seek permission from the police the next
time they intended to protest.
lawyer Muchadehama says is the problem. Under the Public
Order and Security Act (POSA) political parties are required
to seek permission from the police whereas WOZA and its MOZA wing
were not a political party. The group has in the past vowed to ignore
repressive laws and demonstrate all the same.
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.