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No Arrests But Beatings Alleged As Zimbabwe's NCA Returns To Streets

Members of Zimbabwe's National Constitutional Assembly, outmaneuvered by police last week when the civic group tried to stage a demonstration in Harare, organized a protest march today in Harare with some 300 members taking to the streets.

NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku said police beat many demonstrators and seriously injured 27 of them. However, police did not arrest any of the NCA demonstrators.

Madhuku said protesters marched through the capital from Chinhoyi Street to Sam Nujoma Street, where police ordered them to disperse. When they did not obey the order to disperse, police commenced to beat them but arrested no one, he said.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena declined to confirm or comment on the reported NCA protest.

Madhuku told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe he believes the decision not to arrest demonstrators reflects a shift in police strategy.

Elsewhere, about 30 officials of the Movement for Democratic Change remained under arrested in the northern city of Kariba pending transfer to Karoi for arraignment. They included Kwekwe member of parliament Blessing Chebundo and Kariba Executive Mayor John Houghton, who is the only white mayor in the country.

The MDC officials, members of the opposition faction led by Morgan TsvangiraI, were arrested on charges of meeting without authorization. Their lawyer says they were to be moved to Karoi because there is at present no resident magistrate in Kariba.

Blessing Zulu interviewed Tsvangirai faction spokesman Nelson Chamisa.

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