Zimbabwe opposition figure attacked

Arrests and beatings in Harare as Tsvangirai says Zimbabwe is at "tipping point".

    Zimbabwe police detained almost 50 opposition members in Harare on March 11

    Chamisa was on his way to attend a meeting of the Africa Caribbean Pacific (ACP) and European Union (EU) in Belgium.


    Your Views

    "...If there was no South African support, Mr. Mugabe would have disappeared long ago..."

    baz, Vancouver, Canada

    Send us your views

    Bango, an MDC spokesman, said: "He was badly beaten this morning whilst he was on his way to the airport by security agents.


    "The security agents have taken his passport, laptop and his luggage. One of his eyes has been badly injured.


    "It's really bad. His head has been severely injured."


    'Inciting violence'


    Rashweat Mukundu, a media committee member of the Save Zimbabwe coalition, said the attack prevented the world from seeing the firm hand of Mugabe's government.


    "This is an attempt in stopping the world from seeing what exactly the brutality is that was subjected on the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and other civic activists.


    "This is a violation of freedom of movement rights, violation of freedom of association. This also marks a turning point in the political situation in Zimbabwe."


    "Things are bad ... but I think that this crisis has reached a tipping point, and we could see the beginning of the end of this dictatorship in whatever form"

    Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC leader

    Mutambara was arrested at Harare International Airport on Saturday as he was travelling to South Africa where his family is based.


    Harrison Nkomo, his lawyer, said: "He is being charged with inciting public violence.


    "These are the same charges which he was charged with last week, which the high court ruled against. We are now seeking for his immediate release from the police cells."


    Mutambara was among 49 people, including Tsvangirai, who were beaten by police after being arrested when prevented from holding a mass prayer meeting on March 11.


    One activist was shot dead as Zimbabwean police used tear gas, water cannons and live ammunition. They beat activists during and after arrests, according to opposition members.


    "Tipping point"


    Tsvangirai, speaking by telephone from Harare to the BBC, said Zimbabwe is facing a critical moment.


    Tsvangirai's supporters have vowed to drive
    Mugabe from office with civil disobedience [AP]

    "Things are bad," Tsvangirai said, "but I think that this crisis has reached a tipping point, and we could see the beginning of the end of this dictatorship in whatever form."


    On Saturday, two other activists, Grace Kwinje and Sekai Holland – who were seeking medical treatment in South Africa – were also stopped from leaving the country.


    Tsvangirai's supporters say they will drive Mugabe from office with a campaign of civil disobedience. Opponents of Mugabe blame him for repression, corruption, food shortages and inflation of 1,600 per cent.


    Tsvangirai also criticised South Africa for its role in the crisis.


    He called the country a "critical player [that] could have been more strong," and urged continued pressure from both the African Union and the US.


    Thabo Mbeki, the South African president, has said quiet diplomacy is preferable to public condemnation. Western governments have condemned the violence.


    The US is threatening to strengthen sanctions, and last month the EU renewed targeted sanctions, including asset freezes and a travel ban on Mugabe and more than 100 of his senior associates.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.