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Zimbabwe police clash with opponents of proposed constitutional amendments

[JURIST] Police in Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive], were seen assaulting and arresting protesters who had taken to the streets Wednesday to express dissatisfaction with newly proposed constitutional amendments. Witnesses reported that at least 20 protesters were arrested and three were severely beaten by police. At least one protester had to be taken to the hospital for treatment after police assaulted her in the street. The protesters were arrested for violating Zimbabwe's Public Order and Security Act [PDF text] which prohibits protests without police approval. The protesters were all members of the National Constitutional Assembly [official website] expressing dissatisfaction with the proposed 18th amendment of the Zimbabwe Constitution [PDF text], which would give parliament the power to appoint a new president in the case of the incumbent president's death or incapacitation. Opponents claim that the amendment would let current Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile] dodge uncertain elections and ensure a successor to his presidency that meets his approval.

Harare police officials confirmed the arrests but refused to specify the charges or the number of individuals currently being held by police. ZimOnline has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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