More than 100 Zimbabwean doctors and nurses protested for better pay and working conditions Wednesday in Harare, only to have their demonstration cut short by police brandishing batons, according to the International Herald Tribune.
The doctors and nurses were easily distinguishable as many donned work uniforms. ‚ Nearby school teachers attempted to join the protest, only to be beaten away by police.
Fifteen were arrested in the peaceful demonstration, IHT reports.
The protest, demanding better pay and working conditions, was in response to the nation’s Cholera epidemic. ‚ Citizens are finding it harder and harder to survive in an economy hit with an unreal 231 million per cent inflation rate, therefore basic‚ necessities‚ like health care is not available for all. ‚ Hospitals throughout the country are closing.
Since August, deaths due to Cholera have risen to 565, according to the UN. ‚ More than 12,500 are infected in a society that lacks proper water purification chemicals.
Chaos is rule nowadays in Zimbabwe. ‚ Soldiers, angry with their meager salaries, have started‚ looting communities and assaulting women.
Many workers don’t have enough money to survive on a week-to-week basis. ‚ Employees do not have access to their full salaries since the Reserve Bank has put a cap on withdrawals, limiting them to 500,000 Zimbabwean dollars a week, equal to a ridiculous 20 cents.
Workers have submitted petitions to the chairman of the nation’s Reserve Bank, demanding the withdrawal limit be raised to 100 million Zimbabwean dollars per week, equal to about $40.
It is good that the‚ power-sharing government of the ruthless Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai‚ recently admitted that its country does have a Cholera epidemic; for a long while the government denied its existence. ‚ It has appealed to the World Health Organization for immediate help since it cannot tackle the problem on its own.
On the other hand, the action taken by police against the doctors and nurses is unacceptable. ‚ Peaceful protesters should never be attacked for any reason, especially when their message makes so much sense. I’m sure not one person thinks doctors and nurses protesting for better pay and working conditions is an outrageous cause.