Thirty-four people, including pastors and their followers, who were arrested in Harare on Friday while they were planning to hold a meeting to discuss the current social, economic and political situation in Zimbabwe, will spend Friday night in police custody.
According to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), 36 people were initially arrested but two of the conveners of the meeting including Bishop Ancelimo Magaya of the Zimbabwe Divine Destiny, were later released.
In a tweet, the ZLHR said, “A total of 34 people who include pastors & congregants will spend the night in custody. They are being charged with ‘Unlawful gathering’ after they were picked up earlier today whilst attending a prayer meeting.
The ZLHR noted that attorneys of the arrested Zimbabweans were denied access to their clients by the police.
“Bishop Ancelimo Magaya of Divine Destiny has since been released. The estimated 36 participants who include pastors remain detained without access to lawyers.”
The bishops wanted to hold the meeting titled ‘The Zimbabwe We Want’ in an effort to highlight problems faced by most people in the southern African nation.
Police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, was unavailable for comment as he was not responding to calls on his mobile phone.
About 72 percent of Zimbabweans say the country is going in the wrong direction, according to a survey conducted recently by Afrobarometer.