Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

State finally speaks out on Zimbabwe.

The United States has condemned Zimbabwe over the mass arrests of opposition supporters and civil society leaders and called on other countries to join in its "forthright" condemnation of Harare.
A US State Department spokesman, Richard Boucher, said recent detentions and alleged beatings of more than 100 opposition activists are part of a systematic campaign of repression by President Robert Mugabe's government.

"These arrests are part of a sustained campaign by the Government of Zimbabwe and its supporters to suppress civil society and to suppress supporters of the political opposition through intimidation and violence," Mr Boucher said.

Those arrested included a group holding anti-government posters at a World Cup cricket match in Bulawayo, 19 protesting clergymen, and 26 supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in the capital Harare.

Twenty-three of the group were held in a single cell designed for six prisoners and were unable to sit or lie down. They were denied water and food, until it was eventually brought to them by family members, he said.

Mr Boucher took aim at comments from Zimbabwean officials and "some members of the international community" who have said that conditions in the country, beset by massive food shortages and a crippled economy, are improving.

These comments, he said, "have no basis in reality".

The rebuff appeared to be aimed at South Africa, whose Foreign Minister said this week that Pretoria would never condemn Harare and that "slow" progress was being made.

< email | 3/05/2003 01:37:00 PM | link

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