Thursday, June 18, 2009

Breaking news from WOZA 18th June 2009 WOZA members beaten and arrested in Harare today

Following peaceful protests in Bulawayo yesterday, hundreds of members
of Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA/MOZA) marched through the
streets of Harare today to mark International Refugee Day. 700 members
were expected to have taken part. Six simultaneous protests began at
12pm under the theme – real people, real needs. As in Bulawayo, the
protests were violently dispersed by police who beat protestors with
baton sticks.

It is unclear at this stage how many members have been arrested but we
are deeply concerned for the welfare of two members, Maria Majoni and
Clara Manjengwa, who were seen to be arrested and brutally beaten by
police. Clara was followed by a police vehicle after the protests had
dispersed and arrested. Four police officers threw her into the back
of the vehicle and began to jump on her with their booted feet and
beat her with their baton sticks. When she began to scream in pain,
the driver and passenger in the front seat got out the vehicle and
joined their colleagues in jumping up and down on Clara. Maria Majoni
was also brutally beaten with baton sticks at one of the starting
points before being arrested. It is unclear where either woman has
been taken. A journalist who was recording the beating of Maria Majoni
was also arrested.

Three of the six simultaneous protests were immediately stopped by
police who had been patrolling the streets of central Harare. Those
that had gathered were beaten with baton sticks and dispersed. Riot
police intercepted the fourth protest outside the offices of The
Herald, violently beating the peaceful protestors. As the last two
protests were nearing their target, Parliament, riot police again
descended and began to brutally beat the group. The demonstrators were
followed by police as they dispersed who continued to beat them as
they moved away.

As they beat the peaceful protestors, police told them “you wanted
lower rates, here are the lower rates you wanted” before hitting them
with their baton sticks.

Meanwhile seven of the eight activists arrested yesterday in Bulawayo
remain in police custody. Lawyers secured the release of one of the
group as he is on antiretroviral medication. All eight are expected to
appear in court tomorrow facing charges of disturbing the peace.

More details will be given as they become available.

18th June 2009

For more information, please call Jenni Williams on +263 912 898 110 /
+263 11 213 885, Magodonga Mahlangu on +263 912 362 668 or Annie
Sibanda on +27 79 188 1560. Email or visit

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