News / Africa

Security Stepped Up in Zimbabwe's Capital

Armed Zimbabwean police patrol the streets of Harare in an effort to thwart a call for mass protests posted on Zimbabwean websites against the longtime authoritarian ruler, President Robert Mugabe, March 1, 2011
Armed Zimbabwean police patrol the streets of Harare in an effort to thwart a call for mass protests posted on Zimbabwean websites against the longtime authoritarian ruler, President Robert Mugabe, March 1, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Peta Thornycroft

With political tensions rising, as well as the numbers of those in detention, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has stepped up the government security presence in some Harare townships.

Internet calls for street protests similar to those in North Africa did not emerge Tuesday, but Harare is bracing itself for a Zanu-PF anti-sanctions rally in the capital on Wednesday.

Shortly after businesses opened on Tuesday, a column of about 40 police vehicles, including several water cannons, travelled into town via a main road. People in the street said they did not know why there was such a show of force.

Protest campaigns fall flat

There were campaigns on Facebook calling for a "million man march" against the 31-year rule of President Robert Mugabe. The campaigns calling for protests on Tuesday, though, did not lead to gatherings.  

Most people in the city center said they had not heard about the Internet campaign and none gathered at the city park venue named by the organizers of the Facebook campaign, who call themselves FreeZimActivists.

A Harare lawyer, John Hamunakwadi, said people did not know about any planned march, nor did they know who was organizing it. He said the police and army would know in advance about any planned marches, and also noted that street protests in Zimbabwe are rare.

"The difference of those Arab nations and Zimbabwe is that Zimbabweans are so timid, and it is difficult even to gather 50 at any moment, and police in Zimbabwe know the fact, " said Hamunakwadi.

Last week the European Union extended financial and travel restrictions on Mugabe and most of his colleagues in the hierarchy of Zanu-PF, along with some state companies.

Zanu-PF rally planned

Zanu-PF said it will collect 2 million signatures at a rally to be held in the capital to protest what it calls illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe.

Hamunakwadi said Zanu-PF had prepared itself well for its anti-sanctions campaign rally as many Zanu-PF leaders are still in Harare following President Robert Mugabe’s birthday party on Saturday.

"Those who were at the 87th birthday for Robert Mugabe are still at their hotel up to now, they haven’t checked out until the anti-sanctions campaign," said Hamunakwadi.

At his party, Mugabe said he would ensure that action was taken against western companies operating in Zimbabwe. The longtime president blames Zimbabwe's failed economy on western sanctions.

"The sanctions, sanctionism, sanctions that continue to be on us. I am that glad the party decided on Wednesday we will launch our anti-sanctions campaign," said Mugabe.

Mugabe cracks down

The campaign comes as authorities hold more than 80 people in detention on charges such as threatening assault and political violence. Most are anti-Zanu-PF campaigners, including three legislators from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Forty-six of them are accused of treason for attending a discussion on the uprisings in North Africa. Police say they were plotting to overthrow Mugabe’s constitutionally elected government.

According to defense lawyer Alec Muchadahama, about 10 appear to have been assaulted in detention, and have been refused medical attention.

The judge did not arrive at court Monday, when Muchadahama planned to call for the charges to be dropped.

MDC, in a two-year-old inclusive government with Zanu-PF, has called for an end to partisan policing and for replacement of the attorney-general, Johannes Tomana, who is a prominent member of Zanu-PF.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid