Mugabe blasts 'criminal' opposition

Zimbabwean leader accuses opposition of trying to create a state of anarchy.

    Mugabe said he would deal "firmly" with elements "bent on fomenting anarchy" [AFP]

    "We will never hesitate to deal firmly with those elements who are bent on fomenting anarchy and criminal activities."
     
    'Conspiracy'
     
    Mugabe has been in power since the former Rhodesia gained independence from Britain on April 18, 1980.
     
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    The Zimbabwean leader has come in for criticism from the US and EU over the recent arrest and assault on senior members of the Movement for Democratic Change, including Tsvangirai.
     
    Tsvangirai was accused by Mugabe of being used by Tony Blair, the British prime minister, and George Bush, the US president, as part of a campaign to bring about "regime change".
     
    "Blair and Bush say they don't recognise the president of Zimbabwe, they don't recognise the elections of 2002 and then Tsvangirai says 'yes, I agree with you'. That's where we differ with Tsvangirai," said Mugabe.
     
    'Asking for it'

    Mugabe delivered his speech in an area
    with strong Zanu-PF support [AFP]


    Mugabe said Tsvangirai effectively asked for the police beating, and again rejected accusations that he did not tolerate dissent.
     
    "The opposition has all the room for its activities, provided they act legally.
     
    "Once they start acting illegally they come up gainst the laws of the country," he said.
     
    Mugabe delivered his speech at a football stadium in Harare's ldest township Mbare, a traditional stronghold of his ZANU-PF party where the first independence celebrations were held 27 years ago.
     
    The 35,000-capacity stadium was full and security guards even had to turn away supporters at the turnstiles.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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