Masvingo demonstrators finally released on $30,000 bail

The 20 WOZA members held for three days by police were finally released an hour ago after paying $30,000 bail each. They have been remanded to 4th April. The group of 17 women and 3 men were charged under Chapter 37 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act – ‘participating in a public gathering with the intent to cause public disorder, breach of peace or bigotry’.

It turns out that the group was held for an extra day because police had filed for extension of detention citing their broken equipment.

The group included two women with babies – one woman was allowed to return home every evening and report back to Central Police Station every morning. The second woman was not actually arrested with her child so police allowed the baby to be brought to its mother every day and then return home at night whilst the mother remained in custody.

Three people who were beaten in custody are receiving medical treatment following their release but the extent of their injuries is not known.

WOZA would like to salute the brave people of Gweru, Masvingo and Mutare who took to the streets in defiance of a nation-wide ban on demonstrations, rallies and public meetings. These peaceful street protests were the first of their kind for WOZA members in these centers and we commend their commitment and courage in face of severe police intimidation.

WOZA would also like to commend the Zimbabwe Republic Police in Mutare for recognizing that the People’s Charter will bring a better tomorrow for ALL Zimbabweans, themselves included. To police in Gweru and Masvingo, who beat the peaceful protestors and who felt so threatened by love that they had to back themselves up with water cannons, WOZA would like to remind them that they are our brothers and sisters and while they may think that serving oppression will allow them to survive today, the only way that we can all live a dignified and prosperous life tomorrow and every day after, is when the rights of ALL Zimbabweans are respected and protected.
Woza Moya!

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