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Zimbabwe Authorities Crack Down On Union Officials On Eve Of Strike


Police on Tuesday arrested six more officials of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions for a total of nine since Monday, and were still detaining seven of them on the eve of a two-day national general strike called by the trade union federation.

The union called the strike to protest a freeze on wages imposed by the government as part of its crash program to reduce inflation officially running at 6,593%.

Police were holding ZCTU Matebeleland Regional Chairman Reason Ngwenya and Regional Secretary Ambrose Sibindi, who were picked up by officers of the Bulawayo law and order section, union sources said.

As of late Tuesday, police in Gweru were continuing to hold ZCTU Midlands Chairman Charles Chikozvo and the union's regional secretary, Isaac Teveteve.

But police in Chinhoyi freed Mashonaland West Regional Secretary Wilson Kambanje and Organizing Secretary Wellington Chiparamakura after detaining them briefly for handing out union fliers urging workers to participate in the "stay-away."

Three union officials arrested Monday in Harare for passing out fliers were still held by police. Union sources said they were denied food and legal representation.

ZCTU Secretary General Wellington Chibebe told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that police came to union headquarters looking for him.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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