Zimbabwe arrests 83 women protesters

Police in Zimbabwe have arrested 83 women activists who marched on the parliament in the capital Harare without authorization, a lawyer said on Tuesday.

The members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) were arrested on Monday after marching to highlight concerns around community safety and police behaviour.

“Police have arrested 83 women from WOZA and no charges have been laid against them as yet,” lawyer Belinda Chinowawa said.

“Initially, police arrested 25 women and the other 58 handed themselves to the police in solidarity with their colleagues.”

The activists could appear in court today if the police decided on what charges they should face, she said.

Amnesty International has appealed to the authorities to release the women activists.

“These arbitrary arrests and unlawful detentions are clearly aimed at restricting the rights to freedom of expression and assembly,” said Michelle Kagari, deputy director of Amnesty International?s Africa Programme said in a statement.

“Those detained must be released immediately and unconditionally or otherwise charged with a recognisable crime.”

The demonstrators handed police a list of demands addressed to the police commissioner and the home affairs ministry, Amnesty said.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena could not shed light on the arrests saying that “we are still verifying the information.”