Zimbabwe: Trade Unionists Beaten and Arrested

The ITUC has condemned the beating and arrest by police this morning of Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions President Peter Mutasa and Secretary General Japhet Mayo, along with the arrest of 33 other trade unionists. Some 150 police surrounded the ZCTU offices in Harare to stop the holding of a demonstration against a transaction tax increase which would hit the country’s already impoverished workforce hard.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “We demand the immediate release of those arrested, and that those responsible for assaulting trade unionists, who are acting lawfully to defend Zimbabwe’s working people from even greater hardship, be brought to justice. This type of repressive behaviour from President Mnangagwa is no different from the tyranny of former President Robert Mugabe. The international trade union movement stands in full solidarity with our Zimbabwean brothers and sisters.”

The authorities used the recent cholera outbreak in the country to justify banning the ZCTU demonstration; however, as the union points out, gatherings of the ruling ZANU-PF party, sports events, church services and other public events have been allowed to proceed.