Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A two day general strike called by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) against the policies of the Mugabe government ended its first day with very much mixed results. The government flooded the streets with police and soldiers in an attempt to intimidate the strikers. Activists were once more assaulted and kidnapped. Military helicopters flew over the capital Harare, and soldiers often forced people to go to work with the threat of force. Reports of the success of the strike vary from source to source, but all agree on the degree of intimidation exercised by the government. It should also be noted that the economic conditions in Zimbabwe- a 1,700% inflation rate, unemployment of 80% and a life expectancy that has shrunk to 37 years- that few who have jobs can afford the loss of even two days' pay.
Tomorrow will be the second day of the strike, and union leaders have appealed for a larger turnout. The continuing events in Zimbabwe can be followed on the website of exiled Zimbabwean journalists at http://www.zimbabwejournalists.com . The online labour solidarity site Labour Start has repeated their call for online solidarity with the unions of Zimbabwe. The campaign can be joined at http://www.labourstart.org/cgi-bin/solidarityforever/show_campaign.cgi?c=212 .

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