The Vigil marked May Day by supporting an appeal from Amnesty International for the Zimbabwean authorities to stop intimidating and harassing human rights activists. People at the Vigil carried placards reading: ‘May Day Appeal – End Human Rights Abuses in Zimbabwe’, ‘May Day Appeal – Protect Human Rights Activists in Zimbabwe’ and ‘Vigil Supports Oppressed Trade Unionists in Zimbabwe’.
Amnesty International official Shane Enright said: “It’s so important that people around the world stand in solidarity with the brave human rights and trade union activists in Zimbabwe this May Day. Our message to the police and security services is that we are watching you and will call you to account, however long it takes.”
It seems that it will take longer than expected given South Africa’s failure so far to get Mugabe to comply with the GPA, and Arthur ‘dimwit’ Mutambara’s declared intention to avoid any elections which will return him to academic obscurity.
May Day is traditionally a workers’ celebration and thousands of demonstrators converging on Trafalgar Square passed by the Vigil. Some of them shouted ‘Down with Mugabe’. It was a difficult Vigil because it flooded down with rain half way through. We had to act fast to stop our petitions being soaked.
(By the way these are what our current petitions say: ‘A petition to the UK government: We welcome the UK’s humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe but call on the UK government to withhold development aid until it is confident that the money will benefit the people rather than the corrupt Mugabe regime’.
And ‘Petition to the UN Security Council: We call on the Security Council to ensure that the next elections in Zimbabwe are free and fair. We look to the United Nations to supervise the electoral process and the handover of power to a new government and believe peace-keeping troops will need to be in place before, during and after the polling.’)
Traffic holdups because of the May Day demonstrations were a problem. The car carrying our paraphernalia was forced on many detours back and forth across the Thames and eventually could get no closer than half a mile from the Embassy.
A group of Vigilites had to go and fetch the Vigil tables, posters, banners, tarpaulin, drums, merchandise (Vigil tshirts and Zimbabwean flags), petitions, flags and Zimbabwean newspapers. Even though the paraphernalia was delivered late the Vigil started on time because a big group of supporters in their Vigil tshirts reading ‘Zimbabwe in our hands’ and ‘Zimbabwe Vigil, Zimbabwe House, London – Saturdays until freedom comes’ were there at 2 pm.
The May Day demonstrations were mostly in support of labour solidarity around the world but here is a random sample of flyers from other participants: ’European week of action against the deportation machine’, ‘Why we need justice for domestic workers’, ‘Support the revolution in Nepal’, ‘Oppose the crumbling British imperialist state!’, etc.
A couple of points
- Despite the hubbub of May Day, people at the Vigil could clearly hear a song bird in one of our maple trees. We only saw one bird but we presume it is building a nest.
- Mathias Makozhombwe of Motherland ENT has posted two new videos of the Vigil on Youtube. Check our ‘Events and Notices’ Section for the links.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check the link at the top of the home page of our website. For earlier ZimVigil TV programmes check: http://www.zbnnews.com/home/firingline.
FOR THE RECORD: 173 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
- London Citizens and Citizens UK pre-election assembly with David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown. Monday 3rd May from 3 – 5 pm. Venue: Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, Storey’s Gate, London SW1H 9NH. On the agenda is the Sanctuary Pledge (calling for an end to child detention and more support for people seeking sanctuary), Strangers into Citizens and the Living Wage. For tickets contact Eunita Masolo, email: [email protected], phone: 07949 736 222. The organizers would like a big turn-out of Zimbabweans.
- ROHR Woking Branch 1st Anniversary Party. Saturday 8th May from 3 – 10 pm. Venue: St Pauls Church Hall, Oriental Road, Woking GU22 7BD. Raffle for two hampers. Tickets £6 adults £3.00 kids which includes entry and meal. Contact: Mr Mudzamiri 07774044873, Jermaine 07908522992, Sithokozile 07886203113 or P Mapfumo 07915326323/07932216070.
- · ROHR Liverpool Demonstration. Saturday 8th May from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Church Street (Outside Primark) Liverpool City Centre. For details please contact: Desire Chimuka 07917733711, Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Trywell Migeri 07956083758. Next demonstration on Saturday 22nd May. Same venue and time.
- ROHR Brighton Zimbabwean Community Family Fun Evening. Saturday 8th May from 4 – 10.30 pm. Venue: Leonards Church Hall, Glebe Villas, Hove. Nearest train station: Portslade. For directions please contact Elizabeth Masoka 07545458436, Jane Mugwagwa 07833301145, Wellington Mamvura 07956870547, Patience Chiguta 07780667422 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/ 07932216070. Lots of entertainment, food, raffle and disco – free entry.
- ROHR Harlow general meeting. Saturday 15th May from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Perry Road, Harlow CM18 7NP. Substantive committee to be elected and ROHR President and ROHR Executive present. Contact: L Kashangura 07506481334, Blessing Office 07759884633, Bothwell Nyemba 07725208657, Grace Kachingwe 07529524965 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070
- ROHR Cambridge fundraising event. Saturday 22nd May from 4 – 10 pm. Venue: Arbury Community Centre, Campkin Road, Cambridge CB4 2LD. African music, food and drinks hobho. Entrance fee £10 including food. Contact: Jospheth Hapazari 07782398725, Locadia Mugari 07501304116, Sibusisiwe Bafana 07765268622, Percy Marimba 07894670271 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070
- R0HR North London General Meeting. Saturday 22nd May from 1:30-5:30. Venue: Tottenham Chances, 399 High Road London N17 6QN. Closest Tube -Seven Sisters. From Seven Sisters towards Tottenham three stops on buses 123,149,256,349,341 and 476, ROHR Executive and Guest Speakers in attendance. Fundraising raffle and draw. Contact Bekithemba Nyahwa 07534905348, Nobuhle Ndlovu 07949588597, Wellington Chinombe 07529290157, Chipo Denenga 07960761122, P Mapfumo 07915926323.
- ROHR West Bromwich Branch fundraising event. Saturday 29th May from 1 – 11pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Rd, West Bromwich B70 0HF. Admission £8.00 including food and drink. Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594, Godwin Kativu 07576994816 or P Chibanguza 07908406069
- ROHR Northampton General Meeting. Saturday 5th June at 2 pm. Venue: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, King Street, Kettering, Northants, NN16 8QL. ROHR Executive members present and Guest Speakers. Contact: Marshall Rusike 07833787775,Wadzanayi Mpandawana 07717795574, Gladys Milanzi 07846 448 711, Norian Chindowa 07954379426, Sherry Ngaseke 07869295544 Or P Mapfumo 07915 926 323 / 07932 216 070.
- OTIENO by Trevor Michael Georges. A contemporary reworking of Shakespeare’s Othello, set against the continuing deprivation of present-day Zimbabwe. From Tuesday 25th May – Saturday 12th June at 7.30 pm, matinees 3 pm. Venue: Southwark Playhouse, Shipwright Yard (Corner of Tooley St. & Bermondsey St.), London SE1 2TF. For tickets ring 020 7407 0234 or book online here.
- Swaziland Vigil. Saturdays from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB. Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria. For more information check: www.swazilandvigil.co.uk.
- Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).
- Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For information: http://www.citizensforsanctuary.org.uk/pages/Strategic.html or contact: [email protected].
- For Motherland ENT’s videos of the Vigil on 24/04/2009, check: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=lvwikOhO3Fk and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7qqXJ7jfVY.
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.