The African Union, meanwhile, called on Zimbabwe to respect its citizens' human rights.

Violent end to protest 

Tawanda Mutasah, director of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, said the two women, among the most severely injured when Zimbabwean police broke up a protest gathering Sunday, were due to travel to Johannesburg to receive specialist post-traumatic care.

 

"That the Zimbabwean government now resorts to arresting people in ambulances in clear need of specialist care, is an indication of the repressive lengths they're prepared to go"

Tawanda Mutasah, Open Society Initiative for SA

He said the ambulance carrying the women from Harare's Avenues clinic to the airport, where they were to leave in a medical rescue aircraft, was stopped on the tarmac by officers from Zimbabwe's security forces.

 

The women's passports were taken and they were told they needed a clearance certificate from the Department of Health. They were then instructed to go to Harare's central police station but were later allowed to return to the clinic under police guard.

 

"That the Zimbabwean government now resorts to arresting people in ambulances in clear need of specialist care, is an indication of the repressive lengths they're prepared to go," said Mutasah

 

He added that lawyers for the women were trying to get a court order to allow them to receive treatment.

 

Bennett also said that, according to reports from Harare, police took the body of Gift Tandare, an activist shot dead by police, and performed their own burial.