Monday, April 23, 2007

Women protesters mistreated

Zimbabwe women's group: protesters stripped and jailed naked at 17:44 on April 22, 2007, EST.

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - Women arrested at a protest organized by a pro-democracy group were stripped of their clothes and jailed naked for hours, the group said Sunday, accusing police of violating Zimbabwe's traditional moral values.

Eighty-two members of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise group were arrested in the city of Bulawayo at the protest Thursday against power outages. Police said it was an illegal political demonstration.

Of those, 18 were stripped and jailed "the whole day in a state of undress," the group said Sunday.

"When two members of a support team attempted to bring food, they too were arrested," it said. The group were mostly mothers, who in the past have also clanged empty pots and pans on the streets to protest food shortages and sometimes hand out roses to make a political point.

The group said one 18-year-old supporter was beaten across the kidneys by police who later drove her into the bush, a common scare tactic, according to women's group leader, Jenni Williams....

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