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Home | ZimCrisis -- Zim Cops Arrest Opposition Supporters

Date: Wed, 31 May 2000 17:59:51 -0700
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From: Zimbabwe Crisis
Subject: ZimCrisis -- Zim Cops Arrest Opposition Supporters
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"Canadian government":
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Zimbabwean police have arrested 20 supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change before a rally planned for Sunday, increasing tension in the country as campaigning for June elections gets under way. A spokesman for the MDC said the supporters, mostly youths, were rounded up in the Harare township of Glen View late on Saturday as they prepared for a rally set for Sunday afternoon at which MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is due to speak. "We've got guys who have been picked up by the police. These were our members organising for today's rally - there's about 20 of them," spokesman Nomore Sibanda told Reuters. He said the members were being held at Harare's central prison and had not yet been charged. Neither police nor Harare prison officials were immediately available for comment.

In April police invoked a law first used in the 1960s by the then-white minority government to curb black political gatherings. It gave authorities the power to break up rallies and force opposition parties to give notice of any gathering. The MDC said that Sunday's rally would go ahead and that Tsvangirai would still address supporters. The arrests follow Saturday's statement by the MDC that it feared weekend rallies would be disrupted by backers of President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party. At least 23 people - black opposition members, four white farmers and a policeman - have been killed and hundreds of black farm workers beaten or raped in a three-month campaign of terror that threatens to mar the June ballot.

Zimbabwe, facing economic crisis, holds parliamentary elections on June 24-25. The MDC is regarded as the biggest threat yet to Mugabe's 20-year-old grip on power. Its campaign message is that the 76-year-old former guerrilla leader's administration has run one of Africa's most promising economies into the ground and is now hell-bent on perpetuating its rule through intimidation. Since Mugabe set the election date on May 16, Zimbabwe has faced a growing tide of violence, spurring the international community and human right watchers to demand an urgent deployment of observers to ensure a free and fair poll. But Mugabe said last week that, while Harare would welcome most observers, no Briton would be allowed to oversee voting. The MDC, meanwhile, has filed for an order from the Zimbabwe High Court seeking to delay the deadline for nominating candidates for the elections. It argues that Mugabe has violated the law by setting nomination and election dates before a commission charged with marking constituency boundaries has ended its work. The case is scheduled to be heard on Monday. - Independent Online

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Brief list of helpful sites on the issue:
- Comprehensive news updates -- http://www.1freespace.com/beetee
- Offers of and requests for help for Zimbabweans -- http://pub9.ezboard.com/boffersofhelp
- Commercial Farmers' Union -- http://www.mweb.co.zw/cfu
- Movement for Democratic Change -- http://www.in2zw.com/mdc
- Zimbabwe Democracy Trust -- http://www.zimbabwedemocracytrust.org
- BSAP Pursuit of Zimbabwean Criminals -- http://www.bsaphq.f9.co.uk