Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Seven arrested in Mayday Rallies

Harare- At least seven people were arrested Monday as they marked Workers' Day in the town of Chitungwiza, a spokesman for the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) claimed.

'There were seven of them ... They're being held at Makoni Police Station (in Chitungwiza). The police allege they made derogatory statements about the president,' said ZCTU spokesman Mlamleli Sibanda in an interview. The ZCTU is Zimbabwe's main trade union body.

Sibanda said those arrested included two members of the ZCTU General Council namely Vukile Kupe and Lawrence Mangezi. It was not possible to get independent confirmation of the arrests.

The ZCTU held rallies in 20 towns and cities throughout the country on Monday. Other rallies were due to be held by a rival body, the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU), which is closely aligned to President Robert Mugabe's government.

Workers are pushing for higher salaries and the stabilisation of prices amid an economic crisis marked by inflation of nearly 1,000 per cent, high unemployment and growing levels of poverty.

The government is on edge following threats of street demonstrations. In a speech to mark Independence Day last month Mugabe warned that the law would 'descend mercilessly' on anyone who dared to 'go against the security and stability of our country'....

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