HARARE, Zimbabwe: A women’s activism group said today Zimbabwe police fired tear gas and baton charged to disperse Valentine’s Day marchers, herding 195 people demonstrators into a police precinct.
The Women of Zimbabwe Arise leader Jenni Williams said all but one – who was accused of indecent exposure – were released without charge.
The group traditionally marks Valentine’s Day with marches in Harare and the second city of Bulawayo to give out red roses and teddy bears as symbols of peace and love in a nation troubled by years of human rights violations and economic meltdown.
Williams said protesters marched to government buildings to peacefully voice concerns about women’s rights in the proposed new constitution, which will be voted on in a national referendum.
Under the nation’s sweeping security laws public gatherings require police clearance.