OVER 1,000 members of WOZA marched through the streets of central Bulawayo today to the offices of the state-owned Chronicle newspaper. The peaceful group distributed flyers calling on the so-called government to stand aside to allow the United Nations to deal with the humanitarian crisis. Other flyers distributed by the group demanded the immediate release of Jestina Mukoko, Violet Mupfuranhehwe and her two-year old baby and the other pro-democracy activists abducted in the last few weeks. They also sang custom-composed songs to portray their message. No arrests have been reported at the time of this release.
The peaceful protest also commemorated Human Rights Day and the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights under the theme – Human Rights of Women – Human Rights for All. Zimbabweans – stand up for the TRUTH and it will set you free of this regime.
Eight riot police, accompanied by a senior ranking officer, arrived at the Chronicle offices after the protest dispersed. They were overheard asking each other who to arrest. The officer was observed radioing for instructions, whilst the others arrested the placards and newsletters and started to follow the trail of the protest. At this time, an audit is being conducted to check if any arrests have been made.
Both protests yesterday in Harare and today in Bulawayo were lead by different levels of leadership to send a clear message to the regime that even if they arrest WOZA leaders, there are others to step forward and lead. Strict non-violent discipline was observed by all participants.
Comments overheard from bystanders in the bank queues included one woman saying to another, “this is WOZA – and they are singing the truth – children are crying.” To which the other woman replied, “why don’t you join them?” The answer: “I am a coward”.
On this Human Rights Day, WOZA would like to pay tribute to all human rights defenders in the country, commend them for their courage and urge them to remain resolute in the fight for a better Zimbabwe.