Zimbabweans arrested for discussing Egypt protests

2011-02-21 11:37

Harare – Zimbabwean police have detained a former lawmaker and 46 others people at a meeting discussing the protests in Egypt which pushed president Hosni Mubarak out of power, a lawyer said today.

“They were picked up late Saturday afternoon at a meeting where they were discussing the events in Egypt and whether other countries would follow what happened there,” attorney Rose Hanzi of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said.

Among the arrested were Munyaradzi Gwisai, a university lecturer and former lawmaker from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, members of the audience and some passers by.

The group is being held at Harare Central Police Station and no one is yet to be formally charged, but Hanzi said police had indicated they could be charged for attempting to overthrow the government by unconstitutional means.

“The police just arrested everyone at the venue. It was indiscriminate,” Hanzi said.

“One or two of the arrested said they were walking past the venue and others just happened to be in the building and were also picked up.”

Police could not be reached for comment but provincial police spokesman James Sabau was quoted in a state newspaper confirming the arrests.

He said police also seized a video projector, two DVDs and a laptop at the meeting whose theme was: “Revolt in Egypt and Tunisia: What lessons can be learnt by Zimbabwe and Africa?”

“The video showed the uprising and demonstrations and the subsequent removal of President Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian president and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (of Tunisia),” the paper quoted Sabau as saying.

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