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Zimbabwe - From our correspondent

Tsvangirai furious as MDC rally banned

Montage RFI/ Reuters

Zimbabwean police have banned a peace rally scheduled in the capital Harare on Saturday which was to be addressed by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. The Movement for Democratic Change, which organised the event, has vowed to go ahead with the meeting, raising fears of clashes.

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Police say the venue for the MDC rally is only 500 metres away from where Zanu-PF will be holding a separate rally for its anti-sanctions campaign.

The police say they don’t have the manpower to monitor two rallies so close together.

The MDC is furious. It says the police have banned dozens of its political meetings in the past few weeks.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said civilian authority was being undermined in Zimbabwe, and that the country is becoming a police state.

It’s not clear yet whether the MDC will defy the police ban, which was upheld by a court ruling on Friday afternoon.

If they do press ahead with the rally, the situation could become highly volatile.

Zanu-PF has stepped up its anti-MDC and anti-white messages on state radio and TV.

On Saturday morning, Zanu-PF plans to hold simultaneous rallies in all 10 provinces against the sanctions that the MDC is accused of calling for.

As tensions mount, Tsvangirai has issued a plea to the Southern African Development Community to intervene to save Zimbabwe’s fragile power-sharing government.

He says the country risks sliding back to the dark days of violence earlier in the decade.

After two years of relative peace and stability, that’s a scenario that many Zimbabweans dread.

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