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Zimbabwe Protesters Demand Release of Pro-democracy Activist

Protesters outside a Harare magistrates court in Harare demanding the release of Linda Masarira.

Protesters outside a Harare magistrates court in Harare demanding the release of Linda Masarira.

Zimbabweans staged a protest outside a Harare court today to show their support for pro-democracy activist Linda Masarira, who was arrested a couple of weeks ago with several other people that are out of custody on bail, following crippling protests in Zimbabwe over the deteriorating social and economic situation in the country.

The Zimbabweans drawn from various organizations, who have been staging such protests at the Mbare magistrates’ courts where Masarira and 14 other prodemocracy activists are facing charges of engaging in public violence, vowed to continue such action until she is released.

The prodemocracy activists were arrested during the July 6th Zimbabwe shutdown campaign organized by Tajamuka Sesijikile Campaign and Pastor Evan Mawarire of #ThisFlag.

Following the activists’ arrest, Masarira has been denied bail several times as the state claims that she has an outstanding warrant of arrest. The court has refused an application for Masarira to be transferred to Mutare Remand Prison for the cancellation of the warrant, a move that would enable her to apply for bail.

No reasons have been given by the state for refusing to take her to Mutare Remand Prison.

Her attorney Kudzai Kadzere, who is also representing 14 other prodemocracy activists, told the court that he is disappointed by the failure of the state to provide a transcript of the court record of proceedings.

Speaking after today's remand hearing of the activists’ case, Kadzere told Studio 7 that without the transcript they cannot approach the High Court to challenge the continued incarceration of Masarira.

Harare magistrate, Stan Mambanje, who is presiding over the activists’ court case, today ordered the state to provide the defence with all the needed papers. He set August 25th as the trial date for the activists.

At the same time, protesters said they were hoping that Masarira would be released today. Her closest friend Mandowa Manezhu said the continued incarceration of Masarira is painful to all Zimbabweans, especially women human rights activists.

Harare youth chairman for the People's Democratic Party, Elvis Mugari, who was part of the crowd that gathered outside the Mbare magistrates’ courts, criticized the ruling party for trampling on the rights of citizens.

Mugari said his party will soon work with various organizations to stage a national protest over the incarceration of Masarira and general human rights violations in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabweans have been of late been protesting against the deteriorating social and economic situation in the country with some, including war veterans, blaming President Robert Mugabe for running down Zimbabwe.