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Friday, 23 September 2011

Police foil students protest, 15 arrested

Police foil students protest, 15 

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 11/12/2009 14:59:48 

ZIMBABWEAN police arrested at least 15 students at the Harare Polytechnic Tuesday, foiling planned street protests aimed at highlighting deteriorating standards in the country's education sector.
Promise Mkhwananzi, the president of the Zimbabwe National Students Union was also arrested, according to the Students Solidarity Trust.

The Trust said the students were still detained at Harare Central Police Station late Tuesday and are likely to face public order offences.
It is illegal under Zimbabwean law to hold a street demonstration without approval from the police, who rarely grant such permission anyway.

Police can also disperse any group of six or more people if they believe they are about to stage a public demonstration.
An official from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, the students' legal representatives, said they had been denied access to the arrested students.

Police still maintained a presence at the Harare Polytechnic late last night, with unconfirmed reports suggesting more students had been rounded up.

Some of the arrested students were named as Maureen Kademaunga, Abisha Dube, Chanda Chinale, Lovemore Chinoputsa, Lawrence Mashungu, Kudzai Mupazviriwo, Gladys Mukubvu, Kudakwashe Mapundu and Blessing Vava. The other names were not immediately available.

The arrests were made hours before the students embarked on street protests. Most of those arrested were from other colleges.
The Trust said the students were "engaging the government of Zimbabwe through street protests" to highlight the "precarious state of higher education in Zimbabwe".

"The students were demonstrating in solidarity with the civil servants who are getting paltry salaries which can hardly sustain people’s livelihoods. They were also demanding that the government address the plight of lecturers who are on strike," the Students Solidarity Trust said in a statement.

"The students also demanded the revocation of the new fees structure, which is making parents fork out a lot of money for tuition."
Zimbabwe is going through its worst economic crisis in history with the highest inflation in the world. This week, officials said inflation had reached 1593%.