NCA protest foiled

Staff Writer.

HEAVILY armed riot police yesterday broke up pro-democracy demonstrations in the capital, arresting at least 31 activists, organisers said yesterday.



ica, sans-serif”>About 200 supporters of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a coalition of church, labour and civic groups, managed to stage sporadic protests as they ran through the streets, waving banners and chanting slogans demanding a new democratic constitution that will make it impossible for what they called “fascist and draconian laws” such as the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) Bill, currently before parliament, to be placed on the statute book.


The demonstration came as the NGOs Bill passed its second reading stage in the House on Wednesday. The Bill is scheduled to go for its committee stage next Tuesday. The proposed law will prohibit non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from receiving foreign funding for projects related to human rights and governance. It also requires compulsory registration of NGOs.


NCA spokesperson Jessi Majome yesterday said about 31 people were arrested in Harare, but full details were not available. She also said 16 people were seriously injured during the police charge.


“Police tried to quell the demonstration in their usual high-handed approach, indiscriminately injuring citizens,” Majome said.


It was not possible to obtain comment from police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena. But NCA lawyer Alec Muchadehama last night confirmed the arrests but had not ascertained how many people were detained.


“I am actually standing at a police station trying to ascertain the number of people arrested and why they were arrested,” Muchadehama said.

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