Tsvangirai held on treason charges

Police arrested Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Friday and charged him with treason.


Tsvangirai is paying the price
for organisting protests


Tsvangirai, head of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was arrested after a news conference in which he vowed to press ahead with protests against Mugabe. 


A police spokesman said Tsvangirai was being charged with treason in connection with a series of statements allegedly inciting his supporters to overthrow Mugabe.


“We picked him up in connection with the many statements he has been making since the presidential elections,” the spokesman said.


Tsvangirai will be held until Saturday when he is due to appear before a magistrate.


“There is absolutely no basis for the arrest,” his lawyer said.


The purpose of organising the protests was to put pressure on Mugabe to come to the negotiating table with MDC for the purpose of finding a solution to the crisis that has gripped this country,” he added.


Tsvangirai was briefly detained on Monday. Government lawyers are now seeking a court order to ban him from making “inflammatory” comments or inciting the public.


Strong-arm tactics


Earlier, at a news conference, Tsvangirai conceded that the government’s strong-arm response to the protests had made MDC supporters reluctant to stage open demonstrations.


But he hailed the week-long drive as an overwhelming success and said the opposition would continue the protests.


“From now onwards we will embark on rolling mass action at strategic times of our choice and without any warning to the dictatorship,” he said.


Tsvangirai had urged Zimbabweans to turn out “in their millions” on Monday to express their dissatisfaction with Mugabe. Tsvangirai has also legally challenged Mugabe’s 2002 election win in polls he says were fraudulent.


President Robert Mugabe says he is being targeted by Western powers and their local proxies for his policy of seizing white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks.

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