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Zimbabwe Police Confirm Arrests, Death At Opposition Rally

  • VOA News

Police in Zimbabwe have confirmed killing one man and arresting many top opposition leaders while breaking up a planned anti-government rally in Harare on Sunday.

Zimbabwe's main opposition group, the Movement for Democratic Change, has identified the dead man as a party activist, Gift Tandare.

The MDC says police killed Tandare when they fired on innocent, unarmed people. A police spokesman Wayne Bvudzujena says the man was a "thug" who led an attack on officers.

Police say those arrested today include Morgan Tsvanigari, the leader of one of the MDC's two factions. There are reports that the leader of the other faction, Arthur Mutambara, was also detained.

A coalition of church, civic, and opposition groups -- known as the Save Zimbabwe Campaign -- had organized the rally, calling it a "prayer meeting."

However, police prevented the demonstration from getting started, arresting or turning away people who approached the rally site in Harare's Highfield Township.

Authorities had said the event would violate a three-month ban on protests the government recently imposed.

The Zimbabwean government is facing a surge of dissent from citizens upset by the country's food shortages, unemployment and soaring inflation rate, which recently hit 17-hundred-30 percent.

Last month, police used water cannons and tear gas to break up an MDC rally in Harare. Authorities also detained more than 80 people in five cities in a series of protests organized by a separate opposition group the National Constitutional Assembly.

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