Bulawayo riot police crush peaceful WOZA protest
Baton-wielding riot police waged a brutal crackdown Tuesday on peaceful
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) demonstrators in Bulawayo, with witnesses
saying dozens of people were injured.
WOZA said thousands of protesters gathered in central Bulawayo to express
their frustration at the persistent daily ’18 hour power cuts,’ when riot
police arrived and began to indiscriminately beat the peaceful activists.
The protest was aimed at the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and
Distribution Company (ZETDC) for what WOZA termed was daylight robbery by
the utility company.
The protesters were demanding that ZETDC should stop cheating fixed meter
consumers, provide proper timetables of load shedding and urgently put in
place a proper and transparent billing system. They chanted slogans, calling
for justice, freedom and urgent social reforms.
Our correspondent Lionel Saungweme, who witnessed the protest, said the
brutal attack on the demonstrators was yet another sad paragraph in the
ongoing state sponsored violence against innocent and unarmed civilians.
‘The police were acting like dogs. They were so vicious and the ferocity of
the beatings would have left some people thinking they were beating up
football rioters and yet they were just merely women,’ Saungweme said.
He added; ‘This brutal attack underlines the need for an urgent security
sector reforms because the protest did not warrant such a crackdown. It was
a bloody messy affair where women were being chased and beaten along the
A statement issued by WOZA after the crackdown said one of those injured was
their co-coordinator Jenni Williams. No arrests were made and WOZA said all
the injured had been assessed and attended to.
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