Monday, November 07, 2005

Police brutality quashes demonstrations

Zimbabwe's National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), the umbrella body uniting all of the country's civic action groups attempted a feat that has not been done yet over the weekend. In a country were unparalleled fear of the state rules the day owing to endless intimidation, repression and infiltration, the NCA claimed it was going to surprise authorities by withholding the meet up locations of demonstrators in the different cities.

That must have really angered the cops because they came out in full force--guns drawn and all.

As for the demonsrators, they did what they could until the teargas, boots, and arrests overcame them. Here's a report from Zimonline,
Armed anti-riot police patrolled the streets of Harare on Sunday as tension gripped the crisis-hit southern African country after a weekend of public demonstrations to demand a new constitution and to protest against senate elections at the month-end.

On Saturday, police used teargas to break up protests in the five major cities by members of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) civic alliance, which campaigns for a new and democratic constitution for Zimbabwe.

The NCA, which brings together the ZCTU, churches, students, opposition political parties, women's organisations, human and civil rights groups, also opposes elections set for November 26 to create a new senate, saying the government should instead first allow a people-driven constitutional reform process to take place before it can establish the senate.

Twelve members of the NCA who were arrested by the police on Saturday are expected to appear in court today facing charges of allegedly taking part in an illegal demonstration and of assaulting a policeman.

Under the government's draconian Public Order and Security Act (POSA), Zimbabweans are barred from gathering in groups of three or more to discuss politics or hold public demonstrations without first seeking police permission."
Tomorrow, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) intends to have it's 300,000 members on the streets after what it calls a breakdown of talks with the government. More later.

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