Zimbabwe opposition leader arrested

The leader of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has been severely beaten by police, an MDC spokesman in London has said.

Zimbabwe opposition leader arrested

Hebson Makuvise told the BBC Morgan Tsvangirai was beaten unconscious and could hardly walk or open his eyes.

Lawyers are trying to get access to Mr Tsvangirai, who was arrested on Sunday along with five colleagues after riot police broke up a public meeting.

The country's information minister said the police themselves had been beaten.

"The opposition has been involved in violence, caught by police with weapons of destruction and destroying cars and stores and beating up people," Sikhanyiso Ndlovu told the BBC.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and other opposition officials were arrested after police blocked their motor convoy from driving to the stadium where the rally was to have been held.
 
Riot police have blocked all access to the
Highfield township stadium [AP]
 
DC official, said: "Mr Tsvangirai ... was arrested as he was driving out of Highfield. We don't know where he is being held."

   

Officials had earlier said that Arthur Mutambara, who leads another faction of the MDC, and Lovemore Madhuku, of the pressure group National Constitutional Assembly, were also detained.

   

Riot police moved in force early on Sunday to head off the prayer rally, which police had said would violate a ban on political protests imposed after opposition supporters clashed with police in Highfield last month.

   

The organiser, opposition group Save Zimbabwe Coalition, had argued that the ban should not apply to a prayer vigil.

 

A Save Zimbabwe Campaign statement said lawyers were being denied access to detained supporters. It also accused police of forcing shops, bars and churches to shut down for the day.

"Highfield has been turned into a war zone," it said.

Robert Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, retains an iron grip on power.

Last month, in an interview to mark his 83rd birthday, the veteran president said he had no intention of stepping down.

However civil discontent is rising over the economic crisis, with chronic unemployment and inflation running at more than 1,700% - the highest in the world.

Zimbabwe opposition leader arrested
(photo: Desmond Kwande/Getty Images)
 
 

Economic crisis

 

Bvudzijena said he had no immediate information on the arrests.

   

Officials have increased curbs on opposition movements after violence broke out last month when riot police broke up an MDC rally despite a court order directing that it should be allowed.

   

State media said officials feared the rally was intended to launch street protests against Mugabe's government.

   

Zimbabwe has seen political tensions build as it sinks deeper into its worst economic crisis in decades, with inflation above 1,700 per cent, unemployment close to 80 percent and regular shortages of food and fuel.

   

Mugabe, 83, and in power since independence in 1980, dismisses the MDC as a puppet of Zimbabwe's former colonial master Britain.

 

 

Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
YORUM EKLE