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Police Arrest 47 Students Crafting Local Elections

Dozens of student activists are in police custody in Mashonaland Central Province following their arrest at Bindura State University on Thursday.

Secretary General Obey Sithole of the Zimbabwe National Students Union, or Zinasu, says more than 100 students gathered at Bindura State University to discuss pending elections to choose a students' representative council at the learning institution but the meeting was cut short by police details who arrested 47 of them.

Sithole told Studio 7 by phone that those arrested were being detained at Bindura Central Station.

The students leader said their arrested colleagues have been charged under the Public Order and Security Act for convening a meeting without permission from regulatory authorities.

Zinasu, says Sithole, is unhappy with police action, adding that the arrest of the student activists in Bindura was the clearest indication that the state is not retreating in its onslaught against perceived state enemies.

Sithole said the arrest of the 47 students was "an attack on academic freedoms".

The arrest comes at a time when Zinasu has embarked on an exercise to strengthen its structures in all learning institutions.

National police spokesperson Charity Charamba said she first wanted to investigate the matter before giving an official statement.