Lawyers and WOZA activists arrested Tuesday
By Violet Gonda
10 February 2009
It became clear on Tuesday that the unity government is not going to be easy, when lawyers and activists were arrested just one day before Morgan Tsvangirai is sworn in as Prime Minister.
Eight members of the group Women of Zimbabwe Arise were arrested on Tuesday during a demonstration to commemorate Valentines Day, which is held on the 14th. Two lawyers, Rose Hanzi and Tawanda Zhuwarara from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, were also arrested.
WOZA said about 600 activists marched peacefully to the parliament building while apparently the riot police just looked on. But after the activists dispersed it emerged that 10 people had been arrested.
It’s understood they are being held at Harare Central police station and that lawyers are being denied access to their clients, therefore the circumstances of their arrest and details of what charges they are facing are unknown.
A WOZA statement said: “Their arrest and arbitrary detention one day before the swearing in of a new unity government in Zimbabwe clearly shows that ZANU PF has no intention of changing its repressive way of operating.”
Another pressure group, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, said the WOZA protests were also testing ‘the genuineness of the government in awarding activists democratic space following the signing of the GPA and the passing of Amendment 19.’