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WOZA members arrested during sit-in protests

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A sit-in protest in Bulawayo by members of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) in Bulawayo led to the arrest of 100 of its members. The protests were organized to push for devolution of power, an immediate release of the constitution and expose the disrespect to the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo whose statue is still to be put up in the city.

The police in Bulawayo arrested over 100 members of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) pressure group, as they conducted a sit-in protest on Wednesday calling for the immediate release of a draft Constitution. According to WOZA, many members in custody were handcuffed, which is a violation of women’s rights protocols.

Over 100 members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) are in custody at Bulawayo Central Police station, many are handcuffed in violation of women’s right protocols. Riot Police ran wildly around the Main Street and 8th Avenue intersection on orders of their Officer Commanding Bulawayo who was present to demand they arrest members.

Lawyers have been denied access on three separate occasions. Those in custody include WOZA leader Magodonga Mahlangu, three minor children who are not members of WOZA and 3 breastfeeding mothers in custody. WOZA national coordinator Jenni Williams was not arrested.

Ten protests were due to start at 11am Wednesday 27 June 2012 but Riot police had already arrested 40 members and by-standers by 10:30am. Only 3 of the ten protests made it to the sit-in location will be the road surrounding the space where the memorial statue of late Joshua Nkomo should be.

Four additional protests were conducted after 11:30 am marching from the Statue to the Bulawayo Central Police station. Riot police were deployed to refuse them entry into the police station and threatened to beat them before dispersing them from handing themselves in.

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