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Zimbabwe Women's Group Members Arrested in Refugee Day Protest

Police in Zimbabwe's second largest city, Bulawayo, on Wednesday arrested nine members of the activist group Women of Zimbabwe Arise who were demonstrating.

WOZA leader Magodonga Mahlangu said the nine were arrested during a gathering called to mark International Refugee Day. She said riot police broke up the demonstration and beat some protesters, sending three of them to the hospital for treatment of injuries.

A WOZA statement said the group observes Refugee Day "as we believe Zimbabweans are refugees in their own country – displaced, unsettled and insecure."

Lawyers for the arrested demonstrators could not be reached. But Mahlangu said Bulawayo police denied defenders access to their WOZA clients.

Mahlangu told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the arrests showed there still is no freedom of expression in Zimbabwe despite the formation of a power-sharing national unity government in February.

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