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Zimbabwe Police Hold Women Demonstrators Through Valentine's Day

At least 174 members of the activist group Women of Zimbabwe Arise and a related organization, Men of Zimbabwe Arise, remained in police custody Wednesday after being arrested during demonstrations in Harare and Bulawayo on Tuesday.

WOZA sources said 36 members were re-arrested Wednesday, having been released the previous day. An estimated 1,300 members of the groups demonstrated in the two cities to protest the rapidly deteriorating economy and intensifying political crisis.

WOZA has made a tradition of demonstrating on Valentine's Day, but the group held its protests one day early this year to foil police intervention.

Advocate Perpetua Dube, a lawyer representing those arrested, told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that she and her colleagues were troubled by the video-taping of activists in custody by unidentified technicians.

In Harare, attorney Rangu Nyamurundira of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who represented eight WOZA members arrested in the capital, said his clients were released late Wednesday after paying fines of Z$250 dollars (US$0.05) each.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...