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Government Calls Work Stoppage a Failure, MDC Claims it as a Success - 2003-03-18


Factories and shops around the country were closed Tuesday as many Zimbabweans observed a work stoppage called for by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The government, however, says the protest was a failure.

The MDC says some 80 percent of the businesses across Zimbabwe were closed Tuesday. MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi says the party finds the response to its strike call “deeply encouraging,” and he adds “The MDC is very proud and impressed by the bravery and resilience shown by hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans today in the face of state oppression.”

The government says Tuesday’s protest was a failure. The Reuters news agency says the state-run broadcast organization, ZBC, is reporting that only white businesses were closed. The Secretary for Information and Publicity for ZANU PF, Nathan Shamuyarira, says the MDC call for two days of protests is unpatriotic. Mr. Shamuyarira says Zimbabwe’s problems are not as bad as the opposition or the international press claims.