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African Union Rejects Call for Action on Zimbabwe Demolitions

The African Union has rejected calls to pressure the Zimbabwe government to stop its demolition of illegal houses and market stalls, saying it is an internal matter for Zimbabwe.

AU spokesman Desmond Orjiako says Zimbabwe's government has a right to conduct its business without outside interference.

He also said it is in the interest of Zimbabwe's government to prevent crime and ensure the capital, Harare, does not become a slum.

Britain and the United States have sharply criticized the Zimbabwe government over the demolitions and have urged its neighbors to intervene.

Tens of thousands of people have been uprooted during the crackdown, which the Zimbabwean government has said is necessary to stop crime and other illegal activities.

But the opposition Movement for Democratic Change says the demolitions are designed to punish its supporters, many of whom live and work in urban areas.