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Zimbabwean protest pastor arrested after 'praying' with protesting students

Zimbabwean protest pastor arrested after 'praying' with protesting students

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean protest pastor and ThisFlag citizen movement leader Evan Mawarire has been arrested again by the police on Monday while “praying” with protesting University of Zimbabwe medical students.

He was picked up among students who were protesting an increase in fees from $450 to $900 and also an extension of their semester to 15 weeks.

Police spokesperson Charity Charamba confirmed to local media that Mawarire has been arrested and will appear in court on Tuesday.

“Evan Mawarire was yesterday arrested after inciting University of Zimbabwe students to demonstrate … He will appear in court today,” she said.

I addressed students and prayed with them after they demonstrated. I did nothing wrong. I do not know why I was arrested.

Mawarire himself posted a video from the police station in the capital Harare saying he did nothing wrong but only to pray with the students.

“I addressed students and prayed with them after they demonstrated. I did nothing wrong. I do not know why I was arrested,” he said.

The medical students have been ordered by the university authorities to vacate their residences on campus.

Evan Mawarire is already facing charges including attempting to sabotage the Zimbabwean government.

A Harare court has set September 25 as the date for the trial against him after an appeal by the accused for the case to be referred to the Constitutional Court was thrown out.

Mawarire was arrested by police in February 2017 while returning from a six-month exile in South Africa where he had fled after he had been briefly locked up.

The pastor made a name for himself in April 2016 by publishing a video that quickly became viral on the Internet in which he appeared with the Zimbabwean flag in a sling to denounce the corruption of the regime and the difficult living conditions of the population.

He is also accused of using social media to urge Zimbabweans across the globe to revolt against President Robert Mugabe. He was released on bail after spending some time in jail.

Although not affiliated with any political party, Mawarire has announced that he was considering running for the 2018 general election against President Mugabe.

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