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Demonstrators In Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Protest Widespread Shortages

Zimbabwe women's group and male counterpart demonstrated Monday in Bulawayo, the country's second-largest city, against the widespread and acute shortage of food and other essential goods following a government move to roll back prices.

More than 200 members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise, and its male consort, Men of Zimbabwe Arise, staged peaceful protests at multiple locations in the city.

WOZA members demonstrated in 10 areas in high-density suburbs, targeting local shops and businesses and demanding “affordable food on the shelves and an end to selling to cronies and the uniformed forces out the back door." Police have been reported to have imposed price cuts then cleaned out available stocks.

WOZA released an open letter to business owners and to the ministries of Commerce and Home Affairs, demanding meaningful economic reforms.

Members of Men of Zimbabwe Arise arise marched in downtown Bulawayo, handing out fliers at TM supermarkets and OK stores, said MOZA member Shepherd Ndhlovu.

WOZA National Coordinator Jenni Williams told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that although there were no arrests or police reprisals, the group would consider itself successful only when people's basic needs are met.

Elsewhere, four National Constitutional Assembly activists arrested in Mutare late last week for protesting to demand a new constitution were released Monday on Z$3.5 million bail each.They are charged with demonstrating without permission.

Reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe interviewed Manicaland NCA Provincial Chairman Elisha Makuyana about his members' legal situation.

NCA National Chairman Lovemore Madhuku expressed surprise at the large bail set, charging that the government’s aims to cripple the NCA by draining its coffers.

NCA members hospitalized in Harare after alleged police beatings were released on Saturday. Madhuku said police who had sealed off the civic group’s offices in the capital last week, arresting scores, had dispersed by Sunday

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