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Zimbabwe PM Makes First Address


Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangiriai has made his first address to parliament, appealing for unity and calling for an end to crackdowns on opposition activities.

The former opposition leader addressed lawmakers Wednesday, and said the days of police breaking up peaceful demonstrations and arresting innocent people have come to an end.

The prime minister said such oppression impedes Zimbabwe's efforts to rebuild its economy and discourages international donors.

Mr. Tsvangirai himself was beaten by police during a demonstration by his Movement for Democratic Change party in 2007.

He was formally sworn in as a member of Zimbabwe's parliament Tuesday, a few weeks after becoming prime minister in Ziimbabwe's new power-sharing government.

On Tuesday, Zimbabwe's High Court ordered the release on bail of senior opposition official Roy Bennett, who has been jailed for more than three weeks.

A judge ruled that there is no merit to an application by state lawyers to continue holding Bennett without bail. The Bennett case has strained relations in the unity government.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had appointed Bennett to serve as deputy agricultural minister. But before he could be sworn in, Bennett was arrested February 13 on terrorism and weapons charges.

Despite the High Court ruling, it is unclear when Bennett may actually be freed as the state may continue to appeal.


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

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