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  • Strikes and Protests 2007- Save Zimbabwe Campaign

  • EU presidency, Ban Ki-moon condemn Zimbabwe treatment of opposition leaders
    International Herald Tribune
    March 12, 2007

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    LONDON: The European Union presidency and the U.N. secretary-general on Monday condemned the reported arrest and torture of Zimbabwe opposition leaders after a weekend rally, and told Robert Mugabe's government it must ensure the safety of those detained.

    The U.S. State Department, too, strongly criticized the Zimbabwe police breakup of Sunday's peaceful rally in Harare and said the United States was shocked by the reports of injuries suffered by opposition leaders. Colleagues of Morgan Tsvangerai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, said he had deep gashes on his head and shoulders.

    The attacks "were an indication of the repressive nature of the Mugabe dictatorship," said State Department spokesman, Tom Casey.

    The Save Zimbabwe Campaign said another opposition leader, Lovemore Madhuku, was taken to the main Harare hospital early Monday after collapsing from police assaults and was reported in a serious condition.

    Organizers of the rally had described it as a prayer meeting, proclaiming: "Zimbabwe Will Be Saved." Under 83-year-old Mugabe, Zimbabwe's economy has fallen apart and its people suffer from severe food shortages and the world's highest inflation.

    The current German presidency of the EU urged Zimbabwe to release those arrested and to allow them legal assistance and medical care. A statement said the presidency "underlines the responsibility of the Zimbabwean government to ensure that those arrested are safe and remain unharmed."

    It condemned the violent breakup of the rally "during which one participant was killed, one was injured and many ... were arrested and in some cases abused."

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also condemned the reported beating of the opposition leaders, spokeswoman Michele Montas said in New York.

    "Such actions violate the basic democratic right of citizens to engage in peaceful assembly," Montas said. "The secretary-general urges the government of Zimbabwe to release the detainees and to guarantee their safety."

    Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema, in Lisbon on Monday, was asked whether the events in Zimbabwe would hinder plans for a recently announced EU-Africa summit.

    D'Alema condemned the acts of violence but said the meeting should go ahead.

    "We are very concerned with what is going on in Zimbabwe. We condemn repressions against democracy. ... But this fact should not prevent us from promoting the summit."

    Associated Press writers Edith Lederer at the United Nations, Joana Mateus in Lisbon, and David Rising in Berlin contributed to this report.

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