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Zimbabwe Police Arrest Opposition Leader - 2003-06-02

Police in Zimbabwe have arrested opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai ahead of a week of planned anti-government protests. Authorities have vowed to crush the demonstrations.

Police arrested Mr. Tsvangirai at his home early in the morning as the country geared up for the first day protests and strikes, which are expected to continue all week.

Zimbabwean authorities have declared the planned protests illegal and obtained a court order to stop them. But Mr. Tsvangirai's opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, said it intended to go ahead with the demonstration.

The government has covered the city with leaflets urging people to ignore the call to strike and protest. Meanwhile, police appear to be cracking down on the MDC leadership.

Party officials say in addition to Mr. Tsvangirai, several other MDC leaders have been arrested or are being sought by police.

Residents say the streets of Harare are being patrolled by heavily armed soldiers and riot police. Police have set up roadblocks on the major routes leading into the city center.

Reports from the townships outside Harare say police have fired tear gas at protesters in at least one location.