Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) have condemned police for arresting its 150 members who were detained Monday following street protests in the country’s second largest city, Bulawayo.
The protesters staged a demonstration outside the popular Tower Block building where they denounced the local authority for failing to address serious water problems in the city, once considered Zimbabwe’s industrial hub.
About 150 people, including children, were initially taken to Bulawayo Central Police Station where 79 of them were later released without any charges laid against them.
Bulawayo is one of the cities hit by crippling water shortages with the local authority cutting off supplies at least four days a week, a situation activists say may trigger an outbreak of diseases such as typhoid and cholera.
Water Resources Minister Sam Sipepa Nkomo has been attacked by residents saying he is not doing enough to ensure that the city gets water from the Zambezi River, a project which was mooted by the Rhodesian government before the country attained independence from British rule.
WOZA leader Jenni Williams told VOA Studio 7 that the Bulawayo City Council should respond positively to the demands of the local people.
Williams said many of the arrested WOZA members took part in the protest because they have been living without water for several weeks.