The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Armed police force anti-Mugabe protesters to lie on the ground in Harare. Many were whipped, an action reminiscent of apartheid South Africa. Photograph by AFP
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UN News Centre

Annan voices concern about reports of possible violence in Zimbabwe
2 June - Reacting to developments in Zimbabwe, United Nations
Secretary-General today said he was concerned about reports of the
possibility of violence in connection with the mass action planned by the
opposition against the Government this week.

The Secretary-General urged the organizers of the mass action, the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), to ensure that their action remained peaceful
and within the law, according to a statement released by a spokesman for Mr.
Annan Monday evening.

"He urges the Government of Zimbabwe to respect the basic principles of
freedom of expression and assembly as well as the human rights of those
participating in the mass action, and to exercise maximum restraint in
dealing with the situation," the statement said.

"The Secretary-General reiterates his continued support for and readiness to
contribute to the search for a negotiated solution of the serious
difficulties facing the country," the statement added.
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Mugabe crushes protest marches
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
(Filed: 03/06/2003)

President Robert Mugabe's ruthlessly efficient security forces yesterday
crushed protests aimed at driving him out of office by arresting opposition
leaders and firing tear-gas at demonstrators.
His army and riot police arrested hundreds of opposition supporters and
protest organisers countrywide, including at least eight Movement for
Democratic Change members of parliament, and beat up one so badly that he
was critically injured.
At least three activists were shot and injured in the poor Highfields
township close to Harare as riot police hurled tear-gas and fired live
ammunition into a peaceful crowd of opposition supporters gathering before
marching to town.
While commerce and industry was paralysed in the two main cities, the
opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was sitting in the dock at Harare High
Court instead of leading his supporters.
He had avoided arrest the night before by sleeping away from home, but
detectives picked him up the following morning when he returned home to
dress for court.
He was taken to Harare central police station and charged with contempt,
accused of ignoring an "invalid" order issued late on Saturday banning the
demonstrations and strike.
His solicitors appealed against the order early yesterday, before any
demonstrations had begun, and said in an affidavit that the banning order
had been handed down based on "invalid" documentation and was therefore null
and void.
Police drove Mr Tsvangirai to the High Court, where he and two colleagues
are on trial for treason, accused of plotting to assassinate Mr Mugabe.
Before the hearing could begin, the state then lodged papers calling for Mr
Tsvangirai's bail conditions to be tightened.
The state asked for two paragraphs to be added, restricting him from making
"inflammatory" statements or "inciting" people to strike and protest.
Judgement on the application for tighter bail will be given today.
So it was late morning before Mr Tsvangirai was released into Harare's
deserted streets.
From early yesterday thousands of opposition supporters loitered in Harare's
city centre in front of closed banks and shops, waiting for messages from
organisers to begin marching behind their leader. But the call never came.
Mr Tsvangirai was in court, other leaders were being arrested, and marchers
outside the city centre could not get in because every entrance was closed
by road blocks manned by the army and police.
Two military helicopters patrolled Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, for
several hours, and another hovered over the University of Zimbabwe in
Harare, where about 50 riot police tear-gassed and beat up hundreds of
students. At least 20 were detained at the campus.
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ABC News Australia

Zimbabwe situation catastrophic: Downer
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has described the situation in Zimbabwe as
tragic and catastrophic.

The nation's opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was last night released
after being arrested and charged with contempt for vowing to lead a banned
protest against the Government of Robert Mugabe.

There have also been clashes between would-be protesters and security agents
in two of Zimbabwe's major cities.

Mr Downer has told ABC TV's Lateline program that Zimbabwe's economy has
completely collapsed and the political situation is extremely precarious.

"No freedom of speech, no freedom of demonstration or articulation of views
contrary to those of a dictatorship, it's a tragic situation," Mr Downer

On the first day of a week of planned protests, police in Zimbabwe have
fired tear gas and warning shots to disperse anti-Government demonstrators
in several cities.

The turn-out for the rallies was small. Heavily armed troops dispersed the

Riot police armed with live ammunition fired shots into the air during
confrontations with opposition activists in the Harare township of

Several opposition officials, including Bulawayo Mayor Japhet Ndabeni Ncube,
were arrested.

The Government says the five-day opposition protest is illegal and it is
warning that anyone who participates will feel the full wrath of the law.

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      02 Jun 2003 22:49:11 GMT
      Zimbabwe opposition vows to push on with protests


By Stella Mapenzauswa

HARARE, June 3 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's main opposition vowed to continue with
street protests against President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday, a day after the
government crushed attempted marches in main urban centres.

In what appeared like a plea to its supporters to return to the streets, the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) congratulated itself for
shutting down the country's industry and commerce, suggesting street
demonstrations failed only due to a heavy police clampdown.

In New York, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, concerned about possible
violence, called on the protest organizers "to ensure that their action
remains peaceful and within the law", a U.N. spokesman said.

Annan urged the government to respect the basic principles of freedom of
expression and assembly and to exercise restraint in dealing with the
situation, the spokesman added.

Although MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai had told Reuters he did not expect
street marches to take off after Monday, his party said demonstrations
against Mugabe's government would continue during the week as planned.

"What is left is for the people to press on for the next four days with the
complete stay away from work and massive demonstrations. People must all
remain resolute. The end is in sight," the MDC said in a statement.

Earlier, Tsvangirai said the police crackdown appeared to have stopped many
supporters from participating in the planned marches -- described by the
government as an illegal attempt to provoke a coup d'etat.

"I don't think there will be any marches because they will not allow it," he
told Reuters.

Zimbabwe state television dismissed Monday's protests as a flop, saying
business went on largely as usual and that army and police patrols had
maintained peace around the country.


Police fired teargas in some areas to disperse protesters and said they
arrested over 150 MDC activists and supporters.

"The police will remain vigilant and alert to deal with any acts of
sabotage, banditry and general lawlessness," Assistant Police Commissioner
Wayne Bvudzijena said in a statement.

Police briefly detained Tsvangirai on Monday, charging him with contempt of
court for refusing to comply with a judge's order to call off the

An MDC spokesman said the High Court would hear an application by Home
Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi on Tuesday compelling Tsvangirai "not to
incite the public to engage in unlawful activities and illegal
demonstrations" or "make inflammatory statements likely to lead to public

Riot police fired tear gas at a crowd of university students attempting to
march into Harare's city center, driving them back onto their campus.

The MDC says Mugabe should quit over an economic crisis that has triggered
soaring inflation, record unemployment and acute shortages of food, fuel and
foreign currency.

Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, denies mismanaging
the country and says the economy has been sabotaged by his domestic and
international opponents in retaliation for his seizure of white-owned farms
for distribution to landless blacks. (Additional reporting by Irwin Arieff
at the United Nations)
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The Times

            Mugabe's forces fire on student protesters
            From Michael Hartnack in Harare

            POLICE firing teargas and supported by helicopter gunships and
armoured vehicles moved to crush the start of "mass action" yesterday aimed
at forcing the resignation of President Mugabe after 23 years of rule.

            At least three demonstrators were shot as armoured vehicles with
rotating machine gun turrets patrolled city streets. There were unconfirmed
reports that two protesters had been killed.

            At the university campus, troops made student protesters lie on
the ground before flogging them with sjambok whips, an action reminiscent of
paramilitaries in former South Africa under apartheid.

            Earlier police detained Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, charging him with contempt of
court for refusing to comply with a judge's order to call off the

            The MDC said dozens of party officials and MPs had been arrested
or assaulted yesterday, the start of a week-long series of demonstrations
dubbed a "final push" to force Mr Mugabe, 79, to step down. Mr Tsvangirai,
who was later released, said the police crackdown appeared to have stopped
many supporters from participating in the planned marches - described by the
Government as an illegal attempt to provoke a coup d'état.

            Despite the security force crackdown, the strikes brought
business and trading activity to a virtual standstill in an economy already
near collapse. Riot police fired teargas at a crowd of about 6,000
University of Zimbabwe students who were attempting to march into the centre
of Harare, driving them back on to their campus.

            The city's central business district - where shops, banks and
offices were largely closed - saw more violence as police beat up dozens of
protesters and arrested others. In Highfield, a township on the capital's
outskirts, police fired warning shots into the air and teargas at a crowd of
500 protesters. A reporter at a local hospital saw one protester being
treated for a bulletwound to the leg. Police denied being responsible for
the man's injury.

            Welshman Ncube, the MDC's secretary-general, said that progress
had been made, but gave warning that there was hard work ahead.

            "What is left is for the people to press on for the next four
days with the complete stay-away from work and massive demonstrations," Mr
Ncube said. "People must all remain resolute. The end is in sight."

            Mr Mugabe's feared former guerrilla war veterans, in radio
contact with security force units, stood sentry on street corners throughout
the capital and in provincial centres, summoning lorry-loads of uniformed
reinforcements at any sign of people grouping together. Gregory Linington, a
law lecturer, said that police and troops, aided by a helicopter gunship,
had cornered thousands of students.

            "They ran for dear life. I am shocked that this could happen
even if the pilot had orders, maybe, not to fire. They have always had
teargas, but this is the first time we have had armed helicopter gunships
used," he said.

            Police brought Mr Tsvangirai to the High Court later after
saying that he would be charged with contempt of court over the ban imposed
by Judge Ben Hlatshwayo on Saturday against the five-day protest. Mr
Tsvangirai was cautioned and released.

            The Government mouthpiece, The Herald, declared that "the time
has now come for Tsvangirai to pay the price of his sins against the people
of Zimbabwe" and be "put into protective custody".

            Nathan Shamuyarira, Mr Mugabe's propaganda chief, alleged that
the British and American Governments had contrived the strike in a
last-ditch effort to block the redistribution of 5,000 white-owned farms to
350,000 black Zimbabweans. United Nations agencies and human rights groups
accuse Mr Mugabe of responsibility for the crash in agricultural production
that is putting eight million people at risk of famine and for a
state-sponsored reign of terror that has claimed at least 200 lives in three

            Zimbabwe's 30,000 remaining whites heeded MDC advice to "keep a
low profile", as pro-Mugabe militants intended to target them.

            In London, the arrest of Mr Tsvangirai was condemned by the
Government and opposition politicians. Jack Straw said that he was extremely
concerned. The Foreign Secretary spoke after the European Union had issued a
joint appeal for the demonstrations to be allowed to go ahead peacefully.

            Michael Ancram, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, condemned the
Prime Minister for not using the G8 summit to put pressure on Mr Mugabe.
"This is an outrage against democracy. It is unthinkable that G8 should not
regard this as a major issue in relation to their discussions on good
governance in Africa."
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