115 arrested for protesting against hunger in Zimbabwe
09 Nov 2005 20:36 GMT
The Independent Zimbabwe Campaign reports that on Tuesday 8 November the Zimbabwe trade union movement, headed by the ZCTU (Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions), called a demonstration, against the poverty and hunger the majority of Zimbabweans face right now.
Trade unionists in their thousands, including other opposition groups - Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), and the International Socialist Organisation (ISO-Zimbabwe) - congregated in central Harare. The police sealed off the area and prevented them from marching to the government offices. The police, mainly picking off prominent leaders, then arrested one hundred people, and took them to the Harare Central Police Station. They were charged under the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), notorious for preventing people from protesting against violations of workers' and human rights. NCA members Lovemore Madhuku and Misheck Shoko have been in detention since 5 November. Today's arrested people have been put in the same cells as the NCA members.
Some of those arrested include: Lovemore Matombo, ZCTU President, Wellington Chibhebhe, ZCTU Secretary General, Netsai Dzinoreva, NOC Member Zimbabwe Social Forum, Briggs Bomba, National Co-ordinator ISO, Aaron Dhliwayo, Harare Branch Co-Ordinator ISO, Munyaradzi Gwisai, National Co-Ordinator ISO, Canwell Muchadya, President ZGAWU (Printing Union), Regis Mututu, Chairperson Zimbabwe Social Forum, Rita Nyamupinga, NOC member Zimbabwe Social Forum.
People today have been uprising in other towns and cities. In Gweru, one of Zimbabwe's largest towns, a regiment of the National Army mutinied and joined demonstrators. The whole regiment was sacked from their jobs and was arrested.
In Bulawayo, the second largest city, ZCTU officials were arrested. Also women from WOZA in Bulawayo and Harare have been arrested.
Those arrested are due in court on Thursday 10 November, when the court should decide whether to grant them bail or to detain them in custody until their trial for POSA offences commences. If they get bail, the cost will be enormous.
Most of those arrested have been transferred from Harare Central police station to Chitungwiza and Dema holding cells 25 & 30 km outside Harare. There are as-yet unconfirmed reports of torture. Seven of those arrested are suffering from HIV and AIDS and are being denied access to vital anti-retroviral medicines that they have to take on a daily basis. Five of those arrested are mothers with children, who are now being forced to sleep on concrete floors in filthy conditions.
In addition, seven student leaders at the University of Zimbabwe were arrested on the 9th of November 2005 when they marched to the Vice-Chancellor's office in support of the hunger marchers.
We need solidarity to fight this struggle. We need the many souls in the many different countries to co-ordinate actions against this tyranny. Take action wherever you are. This fight will be won!
Harare Central: +263 4 733033, +263 4 721212, and +263 4 725803
General Headquarters: +263 4 700171, +263 4 729137
Chitungwiza: +263 70 22001
Dema +263 70 23142 and +263 70 21928
Attorney General +263 4 774539 and +263 4 781769
Please fax +263 4 771 420
More background on the protest and a list of demands from ISO Zimbabwe.