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  • Strikes and Protests 2007- Save Zimbabwe Campaign

  • Arrests of Zimbabwe opposition disgraceful - New Zealand Prime Minister
    Radio New Zealand
    March 12, 2007

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    Prime Minister Helen Clark has described the arrest of Zimbabwe's opposition leader as disgraceful.

    The Movement for Democratic Change leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, and more than 100 opposition members have been arrested in the capital, Harare, during attempts to hold a prayer meeting.

    Riot police shot dead one activist who they say ignored warning shots as he threw rocks at officers. The opposition says police sealed off roads and fought running battles with supporters, using tear gas and water cannons.

    The Zimbabwe government says the rally broke a ban on political gatherings, which was imposed after violence at an opposition rally last month.

    Miss Clark says Mr Tsvangirai's arrest confirms Zimbabwe is effectively a dictatorship. She says the ability of the Commonwealth to influence what happens in Zimbabwe is limited because the country removed itself from the international body.

    The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Peters, has called on the Zimbabwe Prime Minister, Robert Mugabe, to immediately release Mr Tsvangirai and his colleagues.

    Guardian correspondent Andrew Meldrum, who was kicked out of Zimbabwe in 2003, says the protests may signal growing sentiment against Mr Mugabe.

    Zimbabwe is in its worst economic crisis in decades, with inflation now above 1,700% and unemployment close to 80%; shortages of food, fuel and foreign exchange are regular occurrences. Zimbabwe obtained independence from Britain in 1980.

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