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Zimbabwean Women's Activist Group Charges Police Beatings In Protest

Organizers of the activist group Women of Zimbabwe Arise said 11 of their members were severely beaten by police in Harare Wednesday afternoon after they staged a demonstration in the city center to urge better care for the nation's children.

A WOZA statement said about 250 members of the organization gathered in the city center to demonstrate and were "set upon by a truckload of riot police who threw tear gas canisters to disperse the crowd. Several members were badly beaten with baton sticks by riot and uniformed police officers after they regrouped."

WOZA said the demonstration was organized "to encourage Zimbabweans to stand up for their children in these times of extreme hardship" with elections on hand.

Some of the demonstrators were discharged after being treated at Avenues Clinic and others were still receiving medical care, the organization said.

WOZA Coordinator Jenni Williams told reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that police launched tear gas at women demonstrating peacefully.

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