Police in Bulawayo on Tuesday 8 March 2011 quizzed two employees of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) for organising commemorations to mark International Women’s Day.

Police from Luveve Police Station in the high density suburb of Luveve first quizzed Prisca Dube, the programmes assistant for ZLHR’s Matabeleland Satellite Office before summoning Lizwe Jamela, the senior projects lawyer to the police station.

At the police station, the police quizzed the two about the commemorations.

The police told Jamela and Dube that the “obtaining environment” doesn’t allow for them to hold such commemorations as they could be hijacked by some unruly elements who could turn them into violent protests.

The police told the ZLHR employees to reschedule their commemorations to a later date when the environment permits.

About 27 anti-riot police who were in two truckloads dispersed participants, who had gathered at Luveve Baptist Church for the International Women’s Day festivities.

ZLHR had organised commemorations at Luveve Baptists Church in the high density suburb to mark International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day is celebrated each year on 8 March to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women.

The ZLHR employees were advised that Zimbabwe was liberated as a result of the shedding of blood and that this country is not a “property” of the human rights organisation.

Meanwhile, police on Tuesday 8 March 2011 arrested 16 women at the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) Bulawayo offices and briefly detained them at the Bulawayo Central Police Station.

The women were later released after the intervention of the ZCTU Paralegal Officer. The women were arrested despite furnishing the police with a court order obtained by ZLHR lawyers on Monday 7 March 2011, allowing the ZCTU to stage a peaceful march in the city to commemorate International Women’s Day.