by MARCUS MUSHONGA
HARARE, (CAJ News) – OVER 40 people, among them women and high school students, have been arrested as Zimbabwean authorities step up their onslaught on citizens protesting against the country’s worsening political and economic crisis.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) arrested the suspects in separate incidents in the restive capital, Harare, and the small eastern town of Mutoko.
Officers arrested 34 people, including pro-democracy campaigner, Makomborero Haruzivishe, and charged them with participating in a gathering with “intent to promote public violence, breaches of the peace or bigotry.”
It is alleged the suspects participated in a demonstration allegedly staged by some youths of the biggest opposition, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) last Wednesday.
The suspects, with the exception of Haruzivishe and one Allan Moyo, were released over the weekend.
Also in the capital city, seven students from the Allan Wilson High School were arrested for allegedly participating in an illegal demonstration early this month.
The students face a similar charge as the other 34 activists.
They have been released after the recording of the witness statements.
In Mutoko, seven women, one who had her six-month-old baby, were arrested and slapped with a similar charge after handing over a petition to authorities in protest against poor education standards.
The women have been released on $100 bail (R1 500) pending their court appearance on March 5.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights secured the release of the activists, students and women.
The lawyers’ group also secured the freedom of four leaders of a union of rural teachers following a demonstration allegedly held in Mutoko last Thursday.
– CAJ News