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Zimbabwe Student Leaders Held After Police Block Attempted Protest

Zimbabwe police arrested around 50 students at the Harare Polytechnic Tuesday for trying to stage a demonstration against increased tuition fees and the wider economic and political crisis, soon releasing all but 12 including a national student leader.

Zimbabwe National Students Union President Promise Mkwananzi and 11 others were expected to appear in Harare magistrates court on Wednesday to face charges which were likely to arise from the country's draconian Public Order and Security Act

Students Solidarity Trust spokesman Masimba Nyamadinde said around 600 students accompanied by some college lecturers and non-academic staff had assembled to march into Harare city center when police intervened and made the arrests.

The national student union had given the government until Tuesday to respond to its grievances, failing which it would organize countrywide protests.

Nyamadinde told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that some students were reported to have been injured by police while being arrested.

Elsewhere, striking lecturers at Midlands State University and the National University of Science and Techology in Bulawayo said they will continue their ongoing strike until they are given a 1,200% salary increase. University of Zimbabwe lecturers are expected to strike once the new semester begins February 26.

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