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members hand over petition to Parliament
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
December 05, 2013
members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) began two separate peaceful
protests at 2pm on Monday 2 December 2013. Their objective to march
and hand over a petition. The petition being a research
report produced under the theme: 16 days of activism against
gender based violence Zimbabweans, beat the drum of peace and development
to break the silence on violence.
began without incident and converged on the Kwame Nkrumah entrance
of parliament at 2:15pm. WOZA national coordinator began to negotiate
for someone to officially receive the petition. A female officer
was assisting and asked Williams to please request silence from
the singing members. Members then observed non violent discipline
and sat down on the hot tarmac with the blazing sun on their heads.
to many minutes and it became apparent the clerk of parliament would
not attend to receive the petition. Police officers, schooled in
the culture of harassment continued to attempt to disperse the protesters
and tried to scatter members by attempting to drive their truck
into the crowd. Despite this obvious attempt to curb the right to
protest, WOZA members remained resolute and started to sing a shone
song saying we also have rights!
After a 30 minutes
wait, Williams was directed to the counsel to parliament, Ms Gladys
Pise who received the petition and provided proof.
coordinator, Jenni Williams then addressed members informing them
that the petition had been delivered and asked members to go peacefully
home and await a formal response from parliament. WOZA members then
formally left parliament with the police officers still obviously
restraining themselves in frustration at the new constitution clauses
on respect for the right to petition.
dismay that the police in Bulawayo seem to have not had the same
training on the new ‘right to petition’ as the Harare
police officers seem to have had. Once again the Bulawayo police
officers have shown that there is selective harshness in responding
to protests in Bulawayo. WOZA members are still shocked that Bulawayo
police bosses ordered the deployment of police dogs to run the peacefully
protesting members out of town. WOZA expects to take legal action
against the police for wrongful arrest and for curtailing the right
to protest and use of maximum force against members.
the WOZA fact
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