19 June 2012

Zimbabwe: Seven Woza Members Briefly Detained After Bulawayo Demo

Photo: WOZA
Women protest in Zimbabwe

Seven members of the pressure group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) were arrested and then briefly detained on Tuesday, after a 'die-in' protest in Bulawayo.

The 'die-in', which saw three different groups of WOZA members lying down at main traffic intersections in the city, form part of a WOZA led campaign to pressure for a devolved system of government to be included in the draft constitution. The group has warned that their home city, Bulawayo, is dying around them with businesses continuing to close all over the city.

Two of the three protests went ahead as planned on Tuesday morning, whilst the third was stopped by riot police who followed the activists for over 30 minutes as they tried to regroup. They eventually managed to regroup and conduct their 'die-in' without incident at Main Street and 6th avenue.

The members, carrying traffic signs and red flags, lay down at the intersections faking 'death', which WOZA's Jenni Williams explained was a way to symbolise that Bulawayo is dying. She told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that WOZA feels that the reason the economy and cities like Bulawayo are being left to 'die' lies in the "political culture of centralised power and resource control."

"WOZA are of the view that a key way to change this destructive culture is through a devolved system of government which must be adopted as a principle in the new constitution," Williams explained, adding that this "will help change the political culture that is clearly so destructive in Zimbabwe.

Williams also explained how police rounded up seven of their members at the protest at Main Street and 8th Avenue and detained them for a few hours. They were eventually released when the officer in charge, Chief Inspector Rangwari said they had not caused any damage.

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