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Africa
Zimbabwe opposition activists held
Riot police raid headquarters of the Movement for Democratic Change in Harare.
Last Modified: 26 May 2007 14:58 GMT
Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC leader, was badly injured after being arrested in March [File: EPA]
Police in Zimbabwe have arrested more than 200 opposition activists during a meeting at the Movement for Democratic Change headquarters, a party spokesman said.

"They raided the offices at Harvest House. They had no search warrant. They gave no reasons but they have taken in our members who were holding meetings there," Nelson Chamisa said.
"We believe this is part of the harassment that we are being subjected to."

Riot police with pistols and batons raided the meeting and took away activists and officials in three police vans, he added.

Police officials were not immediately available for comment.
The arrests came one day after Zimbabwe police extended a ban on political rallies and protests in Harare which the opposition has likened to "a state of emergency".

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Rallies and demonstrations were banned in four districts of the capital until June 23, police said.

Chamisa said that the meeting, which was not being attended by the MDC's leaders, did not fall under the police restrictions.

"This was not a street or open air gathering but a meeting in our own party offices to discuss civil issues and we are treated like an illegal or terrorist organisation," he said.

The government of Robert Mugabe, the president, has routinely used riot police squads to crush anti-government rallies in the southern African country, which is suffering from severe shortages of food and fuel.

In March, Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the MDC, and dozens of other opposition activists were badly injured after being arrested at a prayer meeting in the capital.

Mugabe accuses the MDC of being under the control of Zimbabwe's former colonial power Britain and trying to overthrow his government as punishment for seizing and redistributing white-owned commercial farms to landless blacks.
Source:
Agencies
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