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Police Dump WOZA Protesters in Cemetery

Some activists linked to Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) Tuesday had another brush with the law as police beat up several women staging protests over water woes in Bulawayo and dumped them in a city cemetery.

According to lawyers representing some of the detained protesters, at least 23 people were arrested by the police, released without being charged and dumped at the local cemetery as a form of punishment.

Police arrested 150 WOZA members Monday and detained 79 of them for three hours following similar protests which nearly paralyzed the city’s central business district.

The women accused police of intimidating and hurling insults at them without any provocation.

In a statement, WOZA said: “The arresting police squad loudly shouted insults and violently beat up anyone in their path. They shouted tribal and gender obscenities referring to the Ndebele people and calling the women prostitutes."

Two groups of protesters were arrested Tuesday as five smaller protests around the city converged at the government complex.

One group was held near Drill Hall and the other was taken to Bulawayo Central Police Station.

Attorney Lizwe Jamela of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said while at Bulawayo Central, a police chief inspector only identified as Rangwani denied them entry and ordered police to return the WOZA members where they picked them up.

In a bizzarre move, they were shuttled out of town and dropped off at the West Park Cemetery.

Jamela said this police action was unjustified.
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