Riot reaction at rival rally

UNBOWED VOW: Movement for Democratic Change spokesman Nelson Chamisa. © Unknown.
UNBOWED VOW: Movement for Democratic Change spokesman Nelson Chamisa. © Unknown.

HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition vowed yesterday to organise more rallies against President Robert Mugabe's rule despite a brutal police crackdown at the weekend.

HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition vowed yesterday to organise more rallies against President Robert Mugabe's rule despite a brutal police crackdown at the weekend.

Scores of people were hurt and about 130 arrested on Sunday when riot police used tear gas and water cannons to break up a planned rally in Harare by chief opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The event had been approved by the high court.

Despite the violence, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the opposition would not be cowed.

"Our language has become popular expression and we will be at the forefront in confronting the Mugabe regime," Chamisa said.

"It's now useless to follow the legal route when you follow the law and court orders are defied," he said.

Among those arrested at the rally were a number of senior MDC officials, including legislator Paul Madzore.

Tsvangirai left the rally in the denselypopulated Highfield township without addressing supporters after security forces began their crackdown.

Tsvangirai had planned to use the rally to launch his latest campaign for the presidency of the troubled southern African nation, resisting plans by Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party to extend his rule by another two years next year.

The next presidential elections are due to take place next year.

But Mugabe is trying to delay them to 2010 to coincide with parliamentary polls.

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since its independence from the UK in 1980. - Sapa-AFP

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