The GOZ continues to crack down in a draconian manner on peaceful demonstrations by ordinary Zimbabwean men and women. This time it is the brave women of WOZA (Women of Zimbabwe Arise!) who are being tried for a peaceful march protesting the meaningless "economic reforms" undertaken by Finance Minister Gideon Gono (this reform, dubbed "Operation Sunrise" by the GOZ consisted of lopping 3 zeros off the Zimbabwe currency in August). The following is a statement released by WOZA today:
"One hundred and fifty-two members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) are to face trial in Bulawayo tomorrow at the Bulawayo Magistrates Court at 8.30am. They are charged under Chapter 37 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act – ‘participating in a public gathering with the intent to cause public disorder, breach of peace or bigotry’.
If convicted, the members could receive up to five years in custody or face a heavy fine. They were arrested on 21 August in Bulawayo while protesting against Operation Sunrise (the slashing of zeroes). Riot police arrested WOZA members as they were marching towards the RBZ offices where they intended to hand over an open letter to Gideon Gono. The peaceful protest started at 11am at the Post Office in Main Street. As the procession turned into Leopold Takawira St, to go to the Reserve Bank, police appeared and stopped the march, arresting the members. Over 20 members, many of them minors were subjected to different forms of torture whilst in the offices of the Law and Order Department. They were made to sit on ‘air chairs’ and beaten under their feet.
For more information, please contact Jenni Williams or Annie Sibanda on 091 898 110 or 091 300 456 or email email@example.com."