Zimbabwean government officials are criticizing the United States, accusing Washington of interfering illegally in the affairs of small countries.

The U.S. began military operations in Iraq in mid March to topple the government of Saddam Hussein and recently, Washington has been turning it's attention to Harare.

Earlier this week the State Department criticized President Mugabe?s government, accusing it of violence and intimidation against national opposition groups.

Police officials in Zimbabwe deny allegations of torture made by human rights groups and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change following last week?s mass stay away.

Police are quoted in the government newspaper, the Herald, as saying, the police interview people who are involved in violence and that they won?t get distracted by people who ?organize violence and then cry foul when the law is applied to them.?

Willard Chiwewe, the Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, is quoted in the government newspaper, the Herald, as saying that many workers reported to their jobs last week, but were locked out by their bosses.

The Herald also notes that last week a school bus carrying children was petrol bombed and shops and other violence was carried out, including the burning of the ZANU-PF office in Chinhoyi.