Two gay rights campaigners in Zimbabwe have been arrested for allegedly convening a public meeting without authorisation.

Raids against activists are common in the country, which is notorious for its tough laws against same-sex sexuality activity and LGBT freedom of expression.

In a statement on Thursday, Gay and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) said Natasha Dowell and Tawanda Maguze were arrested at Bronte Hotel in Harare.

GALZ was holding a media training course for around 20 participants when the arrests took place.

Police charged Ms Dowell under the Public Order and Security Act. The remaining eighteen training participants had their details recorded and were asked to remain behind at the venue.

The group later left the venue freely.

Tawanda Muguze was released without charge.

Earlier this month, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe vowed to continue with legal efforts to close down GALZ.

He said: “I understand we have a group of homosexuals in this country. I didn’t know until I was told the day before yesterday. So we want to check on who is in that group”. 

Speaking at a rally for his 90th birthday last month, Mugabe urged his country to shun homosexuality.