Zimbabwean women march against police brutality

2016-07-26 23:38
Jenni Williams, Zimbabwean human rights activist and founder of the association Women of Zimbabwe, directs protesters in Bulawayo. (Zinyange Auntony, AFP)

Jenni Williams, Zimbabwean human rights activist and founder of the association Women of Zimbabwe, directs protesters in Bulawayo. (Zinyange Auntony, AFP)

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Bulawayo - Hundreds of Zimbabwean women staged a protest on Tuesday against police brutality and worsening economic woes under President Robert Mugabe's government, in the latest demonstration against the state.

Carrying the national flag - now a symbol of protest - the women walked through the second city of Bulawayo, singing songs denouncing the veteran leader.

"We are demonstrating to expose the injustices and police brutality and demand the government to engage us and deal with the socio-economic crises," said Jenni Williams, leader of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA).

The women delivered a petition to the human rights commission, calling on the body to probe cases of attacks and rights abuses by the police.

"Violence is the Weapon of the Weak" read some posters carried by the women.

The heavily guarded procession held a prayer at the statue of national hero Joshua Nkomo, one of the leaders of the country's fight for liberation against white minority rule.

Zimbabwe has been hit by a series of street protests - the largest seen in many years in the country, triggered by an economic crisis that has left banks short of cash and the government struggling to pay its workers.

Salaries for civil servants and soldiers have been delayed, fuelling discontent with the government.

Mugabe, 92, has often used his security forces to crush dissent since he came to power in 1980, but the growing revolt including the popular ThisFlag internet protest has seen more people speak out against the government.

A day-long nationwide strike three weeks ago in Bulawayo closed offices, shops, schools and some government departments.

In the capital Harare, dozens of citizens picketed at a magistrate's court demanding the release of Linda Masarira, an activist who is in custody on charges of public violence.

Masarira was arrested on July 6 during a mass stay away dubbed "shutdown" and has been denied bail.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe

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