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Despite Political Pact, Zimbabwe Police Arrest Union Leader, Students

Days after the signing of a power-sharing accord between Zimbabwe's former ruling ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, police Thursday arrested the president of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, Takavafira Zhou, for allegedly engaging in “riotous behavior.”

PTUZ National Coordinator Munyaradzi Chauke told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Zhou was involved in an altercation in a Masvingo bank queue with a man who said he worked in the president’s office.

The man allegedly called in uniformed police and ordered them to arrest Zhou, currently leading a nationwide strike by primary and secondary school teachers.

Chauke said that although Zhou is accused of riotous behavior, police have been interrogating him about the ongoing national teachers strike, leading union officals to suspect that his arrest was politically motivated.

In another incident in Bindura, in Mashonaland Central province, student activists said police arrested and beat 10 students for protesting the introduction of a Z$38,000 tuition fee at the Bindura University of Science Education.

The students were released Wednesday after paying fines of Z$20 apiece.

International Relations Secretary Chiedza Gadzirayi of the Zimbabwe National Students Union said the police who beat the students said they did not care about the power-sharing agreement and would deal severely with those pursuing an MDC agenda.

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