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Harare MP Arrested in Fuel-Crisis Solidarity Walk

The Zimbabwean police briefly detained opposition member of parliament Gilbert Shoko, who represents the densely populated Harare suburb Budiriro, under the country’s Public Order and Security Act for walking to work on Wednesday.

He and 21 other members of the Movement for Democratic Change were taken into custody for behavior “conducive to incite riot and public disorder.”

The group was walking into the city center to display solidarity with workers who have been unable to obtain fuel or can no longer afford to pay for public transport due to the ongoing severe shortage of fuel in the Southern African country.

Fuel for some weeks has been unavailable in most locations, except from black market sources, and then only for U.S. dollars, African rand and other hard currencies.

Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe asked Mr. Shoko’s lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, about the charge against his client, who was released pending issuance of a court summons – which in such cases often never arrives.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who launched the walk-to-work protest campaign, says he’ll keep encouraging people to go to their jobs on foot. He has been walking from his home in the Harare's Avondale suburb to party headquarters in the capital.

A number of leading MDC members of parliament have joined Mr. Tsvangirai in this, including Trudy Stevenson, Nelson Chamisa, Job Skhala, Tmothy Mbhawu, Murisi Zwizwai and Pauline Gwanyanya Mpariwa.

Blessing Zulu asked Mr. Tsvangirai for comment on Mr. Shoko’s arrest.

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