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Anti-Mugabe Protesters Arrested at Zimbabwe Cricket Match

Zimbabweans stand holding flags, during the 36th over of a cricket match between New Zealand and Zimbabwe, at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Aug. 6, 2016.

Police in Zimbabwe arrested 14 protesters Saturday during a New Zealand-Zimbabwe cricket match in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city, which turned into an anti-government rally.

The arrests followed the singing of the national anthem during the 36th over of the match, which grew into a protest calling on President Robert Mugabe – 36 years in power - to respect human rights and fix the ailing economy.

Lizwe Jamela is with Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, which is representing the arrested demonstrators. He said they had not been told of their charges.

“So at the moment we are dealing with an unlawful detention. There is no charge. Even the police who are taking those who have been detained say they do not even know. They say those who arrested them simply came and handed over the arrested to them without telling them of the charge or any allegation,” Jamela said.

Zimbabwe is in the midst of an unprecedented wave of opposition to President Mugabe who has been in power since 1980 when the country got its independence from the United Kingdom.

The Saturday demonstration was organized by the #thisflag movement led by Pastor Evan Mawarire, who fled to neighboring South Africa last month after he was acquitted of charges of trying to topple Mugabe’s government.