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Zimbabwe 'Sounds Of Freedom' Protest Off To Modest Start

The Save Zimbabwe Campaign, a coalition of opposition civic groups, rolled out a new form of protest on Wednesday with mixed success as scattered groups and individuals heeded the call to sound horns, bang pots or otherwise make noise at lunch hour.

Organizers acknowledged that the response in Harare and Bulawayo was something short of overwhelming - but said they have only begun to spread the word and would expand the noisemaking geographically and perhaps in frequency and duration.

There were no reports of a police response in the Bulawayo and Harare city centers, but authorities arrested about a dozen students at the National Institute of Science and Technology for chanting revolutionary songs and banging pots. The students were also expressing their discontentment over their educational grants.

Save Zimbabwe Campaign Chairman Jonah Gokovah, a spokesman for the Christian Alliance group at the center of the civic coalition, said the grouping plans to extend the period for making noise in protest of deteriorating living conditions in the country.

Gokovah told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the Save Zimbabwe Campaign is reviewing Wednesday's protests but has already decided to expand them outside the cities to Zimbabwe's rural areas.

The protest in Bulawayo was low-key, but organizers said they were encouraged by the whistling and hooting of residents, as correspondent Netsai Mlilo reported.

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