Eleven of the 13 striking nurses arrested in Zimbabwe during a protest for higher pay were freed on bail Tuesday by a court in the capital Harare, their lawyers said.
Police arrested the group during a demonstration held by scores of nurses at Harare Central Hospital on Monday.
They are on strike to demand a raise, saying their pay had been so eroded by inflation that it could no longer meet their basic needs.
The nurses had vowed not to budge until they get paid in US dollars when anti-riot police broke up the protest and arrested some of the strikers.
“Eleven nurses appeared before the magistrate’s court in (southern suburb) Mbare today and were charged with breaching regulations to curb the Covid-19 virus by partaking in or convening an unauthorised gathering,” Kumbirai Mafunda, spokesman for Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, told AFP.
“They were released on Z$1 000 each, except Moses Sigauke who was additionally charged with incitement to commit public violence and was ordered to pay Z$1 500,” he added.
“The other two nurses were released yesterday (Monday) after paying admission-of-guilt fines at the police station.”
The Zimbabwe Nurses’ Association, which represents around 15 000 state nurses, called on their members to stage a strike against low wages at a time of galloping inflation.
Zimbabwe is facing its worst economic crisis in over a decade. Basic goods are scarce and the value of the Zimbabwean dollar has continued to tumble.
The strike comes as the southern African country experiences a surge in coronavirus cases, with 734 cases including nine deaths recorded so far – compared to 132 cases including four deaths at the end of May.