Zimbabwe: Police attack and arrest peaceful women demonstrators

The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe
Riot police in Harare, on the morning of Monday 27 October, descended on hundreds of women who were peacefully protesting over the delayed conclusion of the peace talks between Zimbabwe’s three major political parties.
At least 47 women were arrested around 10 in the morning and over 100 were beaten in the city as they were walking to the venue of the talks scheduled to begin this afternoon.
The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) had mobilized nearly 1000 women who were tear- gassed and badly beaten as they regrouped at a spot near the Rainbow Towers where the talks are expected to be held.

Women started grouping for the demonstration around the Rainbow Towers at about 7am on Monday 27 October 2008 and the police dispersed them using tear gas and some of the women were beaten up. Some of the women even attempted to go directly to the Rainbow Towers and were beaten up too. By 1130, police had set up a road block and were turning away any cars intending to go to the venue of the talks, regardless of their purpose.

National Coordinator of the WCoZ, Netsai Mushonga is amongst those arrested and information reaching their offices said the group has been denied access to lawyers. Emilia Muchawa, WCoZ Chairperson, said “the major concern by women is manifest hunger, amongst other emergencies and the dire concern that failure to resolve the impasse will further exarcebate the situation.”

It is for these reasons that the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe demands the following;

That the political party principals put the interests and concerns of the people of Zimbabwe first

That the Political Party Principals negotiate and conclude the talks in good faith on Monday 27th October 2008.#

That an Inclusive Government be in place shortly thereafter to begin tackling the urgent challenges that the country is facing in accordance with the Agreement.

That the Inclusive Government be constituted by a fair representation of women within the spirit of the Government of National Unity deal, SADC Protocol on Gender and Development and other regional and international instruments.

Conclude the Talks, We are dying of hunger.

Pedzayi Hurukuro, Tafa nenzara

Qedani inkulumo – sesilambile siyafa ngendlala

27 October 2008

Source: The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)