SW Radio Africa (London)

Zimbabwe: Woza Valentine's Day Protestors Beaten And Arrested in Bulawayo

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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