The three people arrested after the WOZA demonstration in Harare this afternoon were finally released at 5pm. They were accused of criminal nuisance and paid a fine of $40,000 under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. Police had arrested them for allegedly taking photographs of the demonstration and have kept a camera in custody. The women have been asked to report at 10am tomorrow morning to collect the equipment.
Breaking news from WOZA
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) conducted a peaceful protest to Parliament at 1pm today. Over 300 members took part.
The protest was blocked metres away from Parliament by riot police who refused to allow the group to pass and deliver the Peopleâ€™s Charter to parliamentarians. The group was then asked to disperse whereupon they turned around and continued to demonstrate along Nelson Mandela towards the Zanu PF offices. A police vehicle with riot police followed the protest arriving in Angwa Street as the protest dispersed.
Riot police surrounded a Crisis Coalition vehicle, searching it before arresting three women in the vicinity who had not been in the protest. The women are said to be in the Law and Order department, Office 93, of Harare Central and lawyers have not managed to get access to determine who the women are or what the charges might be.
Although WOZA leaders led the protests and National Coordinator of WOZA, Jenni Williams, spent two minutes negotiating with the riot police to allow the group to proceed to the door of Parliament, they were not arrested. Some members at the back of the protest were accosted by police as they dispersed and asked by police where Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu were. WOZA find it strange that bystanders were arrested instead of participants and wonder is it now a crime to watch a peaceful protest?