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Police Presence Bolstered In Zimbabwe Cities Amidst Social Unrest

Zimbabwean police stepped up their presence in cities around the country Thursday in an indication the government is bracing for further street protests and strikes.

Eyewitnesses said Harare bristled Thursday morning with police wielding batons and teargas canisters. Members of the so-called Green Bombers youth militia were also in circulation, and were reported to have clashed with street vendors.

Sources said members of the Central Intelligence Organization infiltrated academic institutions and government offices in anticipation of a strike by civil servants.

Senior Programs Officer Phillip Pasirayi of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the public at this point in the crisis is not likely to be intimidated by a stepped-up police presence.

Pasirayi added that police in Kadoma, in Mashonaland West some 140 kilometers from Harare, refused permission for the organization to hold a meeting to discuss a ruling party proposal to postpone the 2008 presidential election until 2010. He said police told the group they could not guarantee security in case of a disturbance.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...