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WOZA celebrates World Peace Day in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's women beaten testing new government's commitment to free speech

Members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) were arrested and beaten by police for organising marches in Harare, on 19 September, and in Bulawayo on 20 September.

Demonstrators waved placards, sang songs, and presented Zimbabwe’s new government with a list of demands, according to SW Radio Africa. While onlookers applauded the women, police tried to disperse the crowds and injured many protesters with baton strikes.

The marches celebrated the International Day of Peace, 21 September. World Peace Day, as it is often called, was established by a 1981 UN resolution.

‘WOZA members wanted to bring a deeper understanding of the kind of peace required as it has been a word too cheaply used in the last year’, said the group.

No freedom
WOZA wanted to test the new government’s and the police’s commitment to new constitutional clauses guaranteeing freedom of speech and assembly. ‘A test failed by 100 per cent,’ said the group in a statement.

Their demands include transforming the police force into a police ‘service’.

According to the group, the police arrested and detained nine WOZA members, and injured 30.

WOZA leaders Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu were arrested both days.

Jessica Corbett is a US student journalist working in London with PN.