Five members of the Occupy Africa Unity Square who were arrested while staging an anti-government protest have been granted $1,000 bail each for allegedly attempting to rob some people in Harare and obstructing the course of justice.
Some opposition parties have resolved to join the day and night vigils in a park near the parliament building to protest against social, economic and political problems in Zimbabwe.
The five activists arrested on Wednesday - Patson Dzamara, Pride Mkono, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Makomborero Haruzivishe and another only identified as Oliver - were arrested at the Africa Unity Square park while staging an anti-government protest as part of the activities to mark 16 days of activism.
Their lawyer, Obey Shava of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, told Studio 7 that magistrate Vakai Chikwekwe ordered each of them to deposit a total of $1,000 in bail money for the two offenses. Shava said the bail money that the activists were ordered to pay was tantamount to denying them bail.
Shava said 10 more protesters were arrested Thursday and are being detained at Harare Central Police Station.
Meanwhile, some occupants of the Africa Unity Square complained that the bail money that their colleagues were ordered to pay by the court was too much.
One of the occupants, Joanna Mamombe, told a news conference that the bail was “outrageous”. At the same time, 13 opposition parties have resolved to join the protestors at Africa Unity Square. General Secretary of the MDC- T youth assembly, Lovemore Chinoputsa, says his party wing met today and unanimously agreed to join the protest which he described as “a winter of discontent”.
This was echoed by Elvis Mugari, a member of Tendai Biti's People's Democratic Party youth wing.
Some civil society organizations have also joined the protest. Obey Sithole of the Zimbabwe Informal Sector Organization, urged other Zimbabweans to come to the park in their numbers to show their disapproval of President Mugabe’s government.
Riot police have been maintaining a heavy presence around the park as youths calling themselves Tajamuka were also trickling into the park to support the protesters.
In a related development, some members of the Zimbabwe Activists Alliance in conjunction with other civic groups say they are bringing their “sleep-in” protests to Bulawayo.
A member of the Zimbabwe Activists Alliance Gift “Ostallos” Siziba told Studio 7 that some activists will start sleeping in the car park at the City Hall starting tonight until the 16th of this month.
Siziba said the activists, mainly composed of young Zimbabweans have decided to bring to Bulawayo the protests which started in Harare at the beginning of this month as a way of trying to increase awareness
among ordinary Zimbabweans about the need to show their discontent to government in a peaceful manner.
Persuade Jena a Bulawayo youth, who said he is going to take part in the demonstration, said he was not afraid about possible arrest or harassment by state security agents, adding that last night’s arrest of activists in Harare was increasing his resolve to participate in the protest in solidarity with his comrades.
Jena said he was taking part out of his own volition and was not expecting any form of payment.
Zimbabwe Activists Alliance in collaboration with other organizations started a peaceful protest by occupying Africa Unity Square in Harare from the 1st of this month to press President Robert Mugabe’s government to address serious issues affecting the nation.