The Zimbabwean regime is trying to crack down even harder on workers' opposition. Socialists and trade unionists must redouble their efforts to give solidarity to workers fighting back.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary general, Wellington Chibhebhe, and two other top officials were arrested on Tuesday of last week. They were taken away under President Mugabe's brutal Public Order and Security Act. The next day Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, was hauled in and then released on bail. The ZCTU called for a three-day work stayaway last week.
Mugabe's repression, and the ZCTU's hesitation and poor organisation meant many workers were unsure about joining the strike, and it was not a success. But five students arrested in Bulawayo were released this week thanks to a campaign of national and international solidarity. The students were arrested on Thursday of last week and beaten for supporting the stayaway called by the ZCTU.
Hundreds of students and activists gathered outside the police station. Trade unionists and socialists from around the world called the police station in Bulawayo. Dozens of people in Britain joined in this action. The students were met by cheering supporters when they emerged from the court. They are on remand until 9 April.
John Bomba, one of those arrested and a leading activist, said, 'They beat us regularly. It was a violent ordeal but we have emerged stronger. 'International support helped enormously. Once they came into the cells and said that they were getting all these calls. 'They would have detained us longer if it hadn't been for this action.'
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