WOZA Valentine’s Day protestors beaten & arrested in Bulawayo

February 15, 2013 at 2:35 pm Leave a comment

By Violet Gonda

Scores of activists from the pressure group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
were beaten and arrested during a demonstration in Bulawayo on Thursday, a
day after the same group was assaulted by police during anti-constitution
protests in Harare.

Group coordinator Jenni Williams told SW Radio Africa that a group of about
180 people were camped outside Bulawayo police station demanding the release
of some of their activists who had been arrested.

She said: “We were beaten, 30 to 40 of us at Southampton Building and forced
to go to the police station. When we were now seated in Bulawayo Central
they called the riot police to beat us to make us leave the police station,
saying we are not wanted there.

“So 180 of us are now outside the police station but about 12 are in police
custody. We are not sure how many exactly.”

Williams said all those who are in police custody are the male members of
WOZA.

The pressure group said they were demonstrating on ‘this day of love’ to
demand a response from the police to formal complaints about police beatings
and brutality.

Bulawayo police refused to comment on the alleged police brutality.

This is the 11th year that WOZA has held protests on Valentine’s Day.

In Harare Wednesday the group distributed fliers protesting against the
draft constitution that is set to be put before a referendum on March 16th.

Some of the fliers distributed by the pressure group read: “The final draft
constitution is as a result of negotiations behind closed doors and a deal
that suits the principals and the political parties in the inclusive
government.”

“Therefore this draft may not survive the test of time because it was
written for a current political climate and not for the future generation. A
constitution is supposed to be written by the people because they should
determine how they want to be governed. It is their role to give the rule to
the rulers!”

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