SOME 35 MDC Alliance youths in Kwekwe were Saturday arrested by police while launching their “1 million campaign”.
Police accused the youths of holding an unsanctioned gathering.
MDC Alliance Secretary General Charlton Hwende confirmed the arrests.
“Armed riot police have arrested all our youths who were conducting a youth programme at our Kwekwe office. They (police) have however, allowed Zanu PF to conduct a car rally in the constituency since morning.
Police must not be used to aid a political party; they must be apolitical. We demand the immediate release of our youths,” Hwende said.
Police had earlier in the day ordered the youths to disperse from Amaveni stadium where the event was taking place.
Some defiant youths ignored the warning leading to the arrests.
The MDC Alliance programme launch was attended by embattled MP Joanna Mamombe, activists Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova.
They survived Saturday’s arrests after the incident happened when they had left the venue together with other youth leaders.
The three made headlines in May this year when they were allegedly abducted moments from a flash demonstration in which they had taken part together with other youths in Harare’s Warren Park suburb.
Saturday’s event by the MDC Alliance youths was also aimed at drumming up support for party candidate Judith Tobaiwa who is eying the Kwekwe Central Constituency in pending by-elections.
Aspiring legislator Tobaiwa said about 35 youths had been arrested.
“Police have arrested 35 of our members during the youth outreach programme. Amongst those arrested is Kudakwashe Gwamuri our Kwekwe District Information Secretary,” Tobaiwa said.
MDC Alliance youth assembly secretary general Ostallos Siziba later declared via social media, “We are in Midlands, Kwekwe central to launch our #1MillionCampaign as real harbinger of a radical different youth assembly. The state has used every method to disrupt our programs, intimidate our cadres and arrest us. We are not deterred. #ZanupfMustGo”.
MDC Alliance youths are targeting to mobilise 1 million “virgin” voters for the national 2023 elections.
The campaign is aimed at mobilising votes from across the country’s 10 provinces. The youths have so far covered seven provinces.