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Zimbabwe:WOZA members arrested in Bulawayo

Approximately 20 members of Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA/MOZA) were arrested in Bulawayo today.[June 6] Amongst those arrested are Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, who handed themselves in at Bulawayo Central in solidarity with a group that had been arrested earlier.

Members of WOZA and MOZA had conducted a peaceful, silent march through Bulawayo to launch their '10 Steps to a New Zimbabwe', a position on the current talks. Two groups had started at different locations but were both marching towards the offices of The Chronicle, a government-owned newspaper. One group was met by riot police after one block and was beaten and dispersed. The other group managed to march for two blocks before again being met by riot police and beaten. A group of 15-20 was arrested and walked to Bulawayo Central Police Station.

Hearing of the arrests, the rest of the demonstrators regrouped, marched to Bulawayo Central and tried to hand themselves in. Police refused them entrance, grabbing only Williams and Mahlangu. When the rest of the group tried to follow them into the station, police at the gates began to viciously beat people to disperse them.

Several people are already receiving medical attention for the beatings they received. It is not clear if any
of those arrested require medical attention. Human rights lawyers are in attendance.

WOZA had marched today to highlight the unfairness of talks that only involve politicians who will be not be addressing issues of social justice - the 'Bread and Roses' Zimbabweans need. It was also to pressure for the inclusion of voices at the negotiating table that will raise socio-economic issues - issues at the heart of ordinary Zimbabweans. Please see below for WOZA's '10 steps to a new Zimbabwe' and for the nonviolent guidelines that WOZA always operates under.

Update: June 9th
WOZA members, Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, were today (Saturday) charged under the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act, released on bail and remanded to 18th June.

A big thanks to all those who have been ringing the police station!

Both women were in good spirits but will need medical attention after three nights in cold wet conditions; Alice Banda, seriously wounded by being kicked by police during the demonstration is now out of surgery.

WOZA is thankful for the safe return of all seven activists who were arrested and praises the courage and determination of all its members who braved beatings and humiliation to stand up and make their voices heard at this crucial time in our country's history.

10 STEPS TO A NEW ZIMBABWE

1. Violence, in all its forms, should be stopped to allow for a transitional process that can begin the
healing process.
2. An all-stakeholders' conference should be convened with the following participants: all political
parties, non-governmental organisation, churches, labour, business, youth and women all meeting on an
equal basis. Their agenda is to devise a transitional process consisting of putting in place an interim
authority and outlining a process of constitution making. The interim authority should undertake the
following:
3. Assume legislative power; repeal oppressive legislation against freedom of expression and assembly
such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA). We also call for an end to the selective application of other laws.
4. Conduct an audit of civil servants, the judiciary and law enforcement agents as to their professional
and non-partisan conduct. Offenders should be sent to re-training/community service or for prosecution. The youth militia should be disbanded and the defence forces should be confined to barracks for retraining.
5. Begin the process of re-engaging the international community with a view to rehabilitating the economy aimed at job creation.
6. Carry out a land audit to lay the basis for a permanent and equitable solution to land reform, while
promoting immediate resumption of food production. 7. Initiate a constitution-making process, including a plan for transitional justice, consulting all Zimbabweans both at home and abroad.
8. Take the resulting constitutional and transitional justice proposals to a referendum supervised by
Southern African Development Community (SADC).
9. Prepare for elections, including reconstituting the Registrar General's department, preparing new
electoral laws, appointing an independent electoral commission and delimitation commission to prepare an electoral roll and prepare for the election. We will be saying good riddance to Tobaiwa Mudede and his crooked systems.
10. Ensure elections are conducted according to the SADC protocols and under international and regional supervision with international and local observers.
The interim authority will then hand over to the winners of the election.

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