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Zimbabwe's Mugabe Pledges to Crush Dissent


Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe says his government remains ready to crush protests and dissent.

President Mugabe said in his annual state of the nation address Wednesday that Zimbabwe continues to enjoy peace and tranquility despite what he called attempts by opponents to foment anarchy.

He said certain elements in the country were attempting to push what he said is a British-supported effort to topple his government.

Mr. Mugabe also blamed Zimbabwe's struggling economy on sanctions imposed by Western nations.

The southern African country is locked in an economic crisis marked by shortages of food and fuel. Its annual inflation rate is more than 1,000 percent.

Critics blame the problems mainly on government policies. They especially cite the seizure of many white-owned commercial farms that has crippled agricultural production.

The U.S. and other countries have imposed sanctions on Mr. Mugabe and his aides to protest alleged human rights abuses. Officials say the sanctions target only the ruling elite, not ordinary citizens.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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