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Archive for Friday, June 20, 2008

Opposition reports 4 deaths ahead of vote

June 20, 2008

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— Zimbabwe's opposition party said Thursday that it was facing escalating violence as it tries to campaign in the last days before a presidential runoff pitting its leader against longtime President Robert Mugabe.

In recent weeks, party activists have been burned alive or have turned up dead after being spirited away in trucks, the Movement for Democratic Change said. Their rallies have been banned, and police have blocked campaign stops.

The violence, restrictions on opposition campaigning and the arrest of a top opposition leader have raised concerns that the June 27 elections will not be free and fair, leading some in the region to wonder whether the vote should be scrapped in favor of a power-sharing arrangement.

Opposition presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai's party says more than 60 of its activists have been killed in recent weeks.

Independent human rights activists have implicated police, soldiers and Mugabe party militants in the violence.

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