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members beaten after Harare demo, one badly injured
of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
December 14, 2007
Whilst the three
people arrested after the WOZA
demonstration in Harare on Tuesday were released after paying
a fine and without being harmed, it has emerged that riot police
beat at least 10 WOZA members as they were dispersing near Angwa
Street. One woman's elbow was badly dislocated after being beaten
with a baton stick across her arm. She is in severe pain and will
be in plaster for at least a month.
It has also
emerged that four members of MOZA were also arrested after the demonstration.
They were driven around the streets of Harare for some time and
asked to point out WOZA leaders. When no leaders were identified,
the four men were asked if WOZA had plans to disrupt the Zanu PF
congress, which was due to be held in Harare the following day.
Upon hearing that the demonstration was to mark Human Rights Day
and the end of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence,
the four men were released unharmed and without charge.
perpetrated against members directly contradicted what WOZA leaders
were told by riot police when stopped near Parliament. When asking
the group to disperse, members of the riot squad assured WOZA's
National Co-ordinator, Jenni Williams, that they would not beat
the demonstrators but they could not allow them to progress to Parliament.
It is obvious however that violence has become so 'normal' for the
Zimbabwe Republic Police that it is the only response that they
know when faced with citizens that peacefully exercise their freedoms
of assembly and speech.
Visit the WOZA fact
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