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Women Arrested In Economic Protest In Zimbabwe's Second City

Police in Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo arrested some 130 members of the activist group Women of Zimbabwe Arise on Thursday, along with members of a male counterpart group, Men of Zimbabwe Arise, sources in the organization said.

The group said some of the arrested members were badly beaten by police.

The WOZA demonstrators gathered at Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority offices in different parts of the city to protest poor service and high costs. The campaign was dubbed the “Power to the People in March 2008 Campaign," a reference to the presidential and parliamentary elections looming early next year.

The Bulawayo police arrested two more WOZA activists at the police station in the Luveve suburb when tried to bring food to their arrested associates.

Bulawayo lawyer Kucaca Mpulu, representing the prisoners, said late Thursday that they were being fingerprinted but that no charges had yet been brought.

The organization's founder and national coordinator, Jenni Williams, gave reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe an account of the arrests.

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