Harare, February 13, 2014 – Zimbabwean police on Thursday broke up an anti-government protest staged by members of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) demanding an end to the looting of the country’s resources and corruption.
The WOZA members picketed at Parliament building in central Harare as they waved placards and banners demanding respect and full implementation of the provisions in the country’s new constitution before their leader Jenni Williams presented a petition to officials at Parliament.
Shortly after Williams had presented the petition, police officers armed with truncheons broke up the protest and assaulted several men and women who participated in the demonstration which WOZA said was organized to commemorate Valentine’s day. The protestors sustained injuries from the assault.
Williams criticized the police’ actions and said they violated the new Constitution which guarantees freedom to demonstrate and petition alongside freedom of assembly and association.
In their petition WOZA said looting of the country’s resources had reached embarrassing trends while those in authority were living lavish lifestyles and earning astronomical salaries.
WOZA said free education remains a pipedream for many Zimbabweans while school levies had skyrocketed beyond citizens’ ability to pay.