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Zimbabwe Opposition Protests Extending Mugabe Rule


Zimbabwe's main opposition group held a protest Thursday against President Robert Mugabe's plan to extend his rule by two years, to 2010.

About 3,000 supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change marched through the southwestern city of Bulawayo.

The government often uses force to stop such protests, but a VOA reporter at the scene, Babongile Dlamini, says Thursday's event was peaceful, with only four people arrested.

An opposition party official, Samuel Sipepe Nokomo, said the group wants political and constitutional reforms. He said the party plans more demonstrations if the president does not resign.

Critics of Mr. Mugabe blame his government for soaring inflation and unemployment rates, and shortages of basic needs like food and fuel.

Mr. Mugabe has ruled the country since it achieved independence in 1980. His term is currently due to expire in 2008.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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