Zimbabwe – Union Leaders Arrested For Planned Protests
Police in Zimbabwe arrested leaders of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) ahead of planned protests yesterday. The group was seeking to register its opposition to the introduction of a 2% tax on electronic transfers and protest the economic crisis facing the country.
Despite the recently appointed Minister of Finance Mthuli Ncube last week declaring that Zimbabwe has achieved middle-income status, shortages of goods from medicines to fuel and rationing of items such as bottled water and beer reveal the severity of the current economic position. With high levels of debt and foreign currency shortages there is concern the country may soon return to hyperinflation.
While the constitution provides for the right to demonstrate and petition, yesterday’s arrests were made on the basis that there is a ban on public gatherings in Harare as a result of a recent cholera outbreak.
Before the peaceful protest could get underway large numbers of police were deployed with guns, teargas canisters and water cannon trucks. Having addressed those gathered outside the Union’s headquarters, the ZCTU leaders were arrested.