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Judge Orders Police to Allow ZCTU Workers' Procession

High Court judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi on Thursday overturned a ban imposed by the police on a procession organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) for this Saturday.

The ZCTU had sought police clearance to hold the procession in Harare to promote workers' rights but were denied permission prompting them to turn to the courts.

Zimbabwe Lawyers For Human Rights spokesman Kumbirai Mafunda said Justice Mathonsi heard the urgent chamber application and quashed the police ban.

Mafunda said Justice Mathonsi noted that the police should not disturb or interfere in any way with the procession. The judge also directed the Zimbabwe Republic Police to provide police escort for the procession.

"The ZCTU had notified the ZRP of their planned procession and had even requested a police escort for the commemoration aimed at celebrating trade union rights to organise and the workers struggle for emancipation and recognition," said Mafunda.

The ZRP had initially given permission to the ZCTU to hold the procession but later withdrew the permission on the basis that the political situation in the country was not conducive to hold the commemoration.

"The ZLHR lawyers Jeremiah Baum, Towanda Zhuwarara and Bellinda Chinowawa argued that the ZRP's refusal for the ZCTU to hold its procession in commemoration of the workers' rights is beyond what is prescribed by the repressive Public Order and Security Act as it is a violation of the labour federation's right to freedom of assembly and association as enshrined in the Zimbabwean Constitution," said Mafunda.

The ZCTU will have a clean-up campaign at Copacabana commuter omnibus terminus in Harare and thereafter stage a lunchtime march.

The ZLHR is expected to file another urgent application to enable the ZCTU to hold a commemorative match in Bulawayo tomorrow after they were granted minimal permission to hold the event at their offices and not have a march in town.