Show love for Zimbabwean women activists on Valentine’s day
Members of a women’s rights group in Zimbabwe face court today (Monday) after being arrested for celebrating the tenth anniversary of their founding.
Ten activists and four bystanders, including a 16-year-old girl and a pregnant 18-year-old, were detained last week (Feb 7) when the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) held a peaceful demonstration in Bulawayo.
They were bailed the next day, with the ten activists being ordered back in court and the bystanders released without charge. The activists, including WOZA’s leader Jenni Williams, face criminal nuisance charges.
According to WOZA, all 14 on their release suffered flu-like symptoms because they were allegedly kept in a “filthy cockroach-infested open fence area of the police cells three hours from 11pm to 2am on the first night.”
WOZA also say that four of those arrested were beaten.
Now Amnesty International UK is calling on supporters to send a rose to the Zimbabwean Ambassador to London to show solidarity with the women on Valentine’s Day.
WOZA use roses on their annual Valentine’s day protests to demonstrate “the power of love can overcome the love of power.”
Every year they organise big protests in Zimbabwe on February 14.
Last year more than 1,800 people took to the streets of Bulawayo in WOZA’s biggest ever Valentine’s Day protest. Men and women aged from 17 to 93 years old participated, with hundreds of red roses, Valentine Cards and newsletters distributed to passers-by while they marched.
WOZA was formed in 2003 to provide women with a united voice, encourage them to stand up for their rights and freedoms, and to empower female leadership in the community.
It estimates its countrywide membership to now be more than 70,000 women and men.
Details of how you can support the Valentine’s Day event this year can be obtained from Amnesty.