Female students from higher institutions of learning including the University of Zambia (UNZA) were yesterday left bare breasted and some in bras after Police in Lusaka confiscated T-shirts they were wearing demanding the new constitution as they commemorated the Youth Day at the Freedom Statue.
The youths were arrested and detained at Lusaka Central Police station where they were locked up in cells with ordinary criminals from around 10:00hours and were only released later in the afternoon without charge.
The 42 students, boys and girls from UNZA and other colleges who are members of Action Aid were cornered around Kamwala areas as they prepared to march and their constitution T-shirts grabbed leaving them half naked.
Action Aid was forced to purchase overalls for all the 42 who were topless and hired a bus to ferry them from Lusaka central police station to their institutions.
And Action Aid country director Pamela Chisanga confirmed the detention of the students and expressed disappointment over the action taken by the PF government and the Zambia Police in particular to arrest the young people on Youth Day.
Chisanga said there was nothing wrong the youths did for the Police to arrest and detained them especially that it was their special day.
“Our youths were matching peacefully in their T-shirts demanding for a new constitution and they did not utter any bad words to anyone,” Chisanga said.
Chisanga said the action taken by the PF government against the youths was a clear indication that the government was not ready to give Zambians a people driven constitution.
“We wonder why the PF government is feeling uncomfortable whenever Zambians talk about the constitution,” she said.
She said the youths were matching peacefully and wondered why government should take such a harsh action to arrest and detain innocent students.
Chisanga has since vowed to continue demanding for the immediate release of the people driven constitution.
“We shall not stop demanding for the release of the constitution and that I can assure the PF government,” she said.
She said the police had been keeping the youths in custody since morning without any charge.
“It shows that the youths did not commit any offence because even the police have failed to charge them,” she said.
Chisanga also expressed disappointment in the police for telling the media lies that the youths had been released.
But Police spokesperson Charity Munganga confirmed that the arrested students and other youths were released in the afternoon.She said the youths who were arrested belonged to a group called ‘Activista’ which is a networking group under Action Aid campaigning for good governance in Zambia.On Tuesday, acting Inspector General of Police Dr Solomon Jere warned that police would arrest anyone who would demonstrate during Youth Day celebrations.